Bell dealt to D-backs, who trade Young to Oakland
Heath Bell became the latest player jettisoned by the Miami
Marlins when he was dealt Saturday to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who
also acquired infielder Cliff Pennington from the Oakland Athletics
for outfielder Chris Young.
Arizona obtained Pennington and minor league infielder Yordy
Cabrera from Oakland for Young and cash, then sent Cabrera to Miami
for Bell. The Marlins will pay $8 million of the remaining $21
million Bell is owed.
Earlier in the day, Arizona exercised a $6.5 million option on
closer J.J. Putz.
The 35-year-old Bell has 151 saves the past four seasons. He
signed a $27 million, three-year contract with Miami last offseason
but lost his closer’s job in July. He finished with 19 saves in 27
chances and a 5.09 ERA in 73 games.
After failing to contend in the first season of their new
ballpark, the Marlins traded former NL batting champion Hanley
Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July and sent pitcher Anibal
Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers.
Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said Bell provides a
right-handed power arm to help set up Putz, and Pennington adds
experience at shortstop and second base.
Towers, who was the general manager in San Diego when Bell was
the setup man for Trevor Hoffman, believes the pitcher will benefit
from a return to the NL West.
”I think he’s excited to kind of be able to clean the slate,”
Bell’s contract calls for a $9 million salary in each of the
next two seasons and includes a $9 million club option for 2015.
Miami will pay $1.5 million next year, $3.5 million in 2014 and the
$3 million deferred signing bonus he is owed.
Young, Arizona’s center fielder for six seasons, was the odd man
out in a crowded outfield with the team expecting young Adam Eaton,
called up from Triple-A Reno late this season, to play center and
be the Diamondbacks’ leadoff hitter. But Towers said the job isn’t
automatically Eaton’s. Gerardo Parra and A.J. Pollock also will
compete for the spot.
Young will be reunited with Bob Melvin, who was his manager in
”It caught me off guard a little bit, I’m not going to lie,”
Young said. ”It’s all settled in a couple hours now. I got an
opportunity to talk to Billy (Beane) and got to talk to (Melvin).
I’m excited to help. It’s a new opportunity, a fresh start for me
The 28-year-old Pennington played in 125 games for the AL West
champion A’s this season. He had 93 appearances at shortstop but
was shifted to second base in August. A switch-hitter, Pennington
hit .215 this year – including .168 against left-handers – and had
”He had a down year. That happens. Guys have down years,”
Towers said. ”Heath had a down year. That’s why we were able to
make these deals.”
Towers said he believes Pennington can be an everyday shortstop,
plus fill in behind Aaron Hill at second base. The team also has
Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop.
Towers said Bell might have been uncomfortable with his
high-profile signing during the Miami makeover last winter.
”Maybe a lot of it had to do with the pressure, his first big
contract,” Towers said, adding that Bell ”was really the first
big signing” the Marlins had in the offseason.
The Arizona general manager thinks his bullpen – led by Putz,
David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler and now Bell – ”is as good a bullpen
as there is if not in the National League but in baseball.”
With considerable money invested in the bullpen, Towers said
it’s particularly important to have a strong group of relievers
while Arizona’s young starting rotation develops. He said Arizona
still needs a late-inning left-handed reliever and perhaps a
This could be a sign Beane, the A’s general manager, might try
to move center fielder Coco Crisp, who signed a $14 million,
two-year contract in January that includes a $7.5 million club
option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout. Beane, however, said he
plans to keep Crisp, though he realized there would be speculation
”I really like our outfield,” Beane said. ”Everybody knows
how important this guy is to this team and also has the benefit of
being a personal favorite of mine.”
Oakland already acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the
Diamondbacks this season and he helped the Athletics down the
stretch. The A’s overtook Texas on the final day of the regular
season to win the division and returned to the playoffs for the
first time since 2006. They lost in five games to the World
Series-bound Detroit Tigers.
Beane said the day after the season ended he planned to keep his
young team intact as much as possible. Last offseason, Oakland
traded three top pitchers: Trevor Cahill to Arizona, Gio Gonzalez
to Washington and closer Andrew Bailey to Boston.
The 29-year-old Young, a popular player in the Arizona
clubhouse, has had three 20-homer, 20-steal seasons. He injured his
right shoulder crashing into a wall while making a catch early this
season and struggled at the plate afterward. A quadriceps injury in
early September sent Young to the bench in favor of Eaton.
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley and AP Sports Writer Ronald
Blum contributed to this report.