Poll Results: Red Sox Fans Want Heath Bell
With the Bobby V announcement being made earlier this week, it is his name that is capturing every newspaper, website and t.v headline that has anything to do with the Boston market. That’s all fine and dandy, but keep in mind that while the Bobby V era gets set to launch, there is still business to tend to. More importantly, there are free agents that are still available that could soon be off the market.
One of those names is closer Heath Bell, formerly of the San Diego Padres. His name has been linked to the Red Sox as a potential suitor for the ninth inning duties. We asked you who you thought should be the next Red Sox closer and you agreed.
Out of 145 votes, Bell received 59 of them, good for 41%. Daniel Bard, the in-house candidate to replace Papelbon received 41 votes or 28%, good for second place. The former Phillies closer, Ryan Madson came in third, collecting 19% of the votes. Joe Nathan, Francisco Cordero and Brad Lidge combined to make up the final 12%.
So it appears that many members of Red Sox Nation would like to see Heath Bell in a Red Sox uniform. I can’t argue with that. We know Ben Cherington has shown some interest in Bell, but if he’s really going to get serious, he’s going to have to do it soon.
Reports have come out that the Miami Marlins are aggressively pursuing Bell. Surprise, surprise, the Marlins are aggressively pursuing what seems to be every free agent this winter.
Bell has been offered arbitration by the Padres, although it seems unlikely he’d accept knowing he can get more money and more years elsewhere. Especially since Jonathan Papelbon set the market for closers when he captured his $50 million dollar contract.
Joe Nathan followed suit and recently Jonathan Broxton cashed in, in what appears to be an overpaying market for the game closing specialists.
The Toronto Blue Jays are also said to be in the running for Bell and are said to be quite aggressive. Regardless of where Bell goes, the Padres are no doubt quietly hoping he doesn’t accept their arbitration offer. Draft picks are far more valuable to an organization that is rebuilding than a 34-year old bullpen arm.
So which team has the inside track on Bell? EarlNash, a frequent reader and comment producer on BoSox Injection makes a tremendous point. Bell isn’t getting any younger and if he wants a legitimate shot at a World Series then Boston is his best suitor.
Not knocking the Jays, but they are likely a couple of years before they are serious contenders.
As far as the Marlins go, well that all depends on what happens with their frenzied hunger for free agents. Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols, two of the biggest names out there this winter have both been linked to Miami. Should they land either of them and then acquire a guy like Mark Buehrle to bolster their rotation, then Bell at the back end makes the Marlins a much improved club. Are they ready to compete? That’s too much speculation without seeing who signs there. (I still think it’s the Phillies division for the next couple of years).
Bell has said he would like to stay on the West Coast. Who wouldn’t? With sunny and warm winter and spring months, everyone would love to have that over a cold, miserable East Coast winter and possibly spring. Just ask Carl Crawford.
But it’s about winning and don’t forget this Red Sox team isn’t all that bad on paper. The verdict is still out on whether or not Bobby V can right this ship of proverbial losers, but when you look at the lineup its hard to argue that this club won’t contend to win at least 90 ball games, if not the division.
The Heath Bell sweepstakes might come down to whether or not Cherington wants to invest in the crazy man who slid to the mound in last year’s All-Star game. A multi-year deal is absolutely essential and in all likelihood, a 3-year one at that. With the current trend of overpaying ninth inning gurus, expect Bell’s asking price to echo that of Papelbon’s in that $10-$12 million per year.
Is he worth it? No, but neither was Papelbon. Sometimes you have to overpay in order to get what you want. And what everybody wants is to win.
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