According to Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand, who broke the news via Twitter, the Yankees have agreed on a minor league deal with former All-Star closer Heath Bell. The details of the deal have not yet been announced. Bell will report to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees’ Triple-A team.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has added RHP Heath Bell to its roster, so it appears the Yankees have signed the former closer to a minor-lg deal.
— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) June 13, 2014
Bell has spent parts of 11 seasons with the Mets, Padres, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Rays, and most recently, the minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Bell enjoyed the best years of his career with the Padres, racking up 134 saves for the team from 2007-2011. He also made all three All-Star appearances of his career with the Padres (’09, ’10, ’11). Bell’s career has taken a turn for the worse the last couple of years however.
In December of 2011, he signed a three-year $27 million contract with the Miami Marlins to become their closer. Bell struggled mightily in the role however, and was eventually traded the Arizona Diamondbacks following the 2012 season. Bell pitched better with Arizona, but still finished the year with a 4.11 ERA.
This past off-season, Bell was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, where he struggled to a 7.27 ERA, before being released back in May. He then spent some time in Triple-A with the Orioles after that (4.22 ERA and 3.24 FIP in 10.2 innings), but eventually opted out of his contract when they didn’t add him to the MLB roster. This is a good, low-risk move by the Yankees to see if they can get anything that may be left out of the former All-Star. If they can, it would certainly bolster a bullpen that so far this season, has only had a few reliable arms for the Yankees.