According a major league source, the Red Sox did show interest in closer Heath Bell, engaging in conversations with the reliever's representatives prior to Bell's reported agreement with the Miami Marlins.
The 34-year-old Bell, who is close friends with Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, has agreed to a three-year deal with the Marlins that would be worth $9 million per season with a vesting option for a fourth year. It is being reported that Bell will be in Miami to take his physical Friday.
According to the source, the Red Sox weren't prepared to match Miami's commitment to Bell partly due to concerns over a perceived dip in stuff -- his strikeout rate per nine innings dropped from 11.1 in 2010 to 7.3 in '11 -- and the fact the reliever's success has come while pitching home games in pitching-friendly Petco Park. (It should be noted that, according to Fangraphs.com, despite the drop in strikeout rate Bell's fastball velocity has remained relatively the same over the past four seasons.)
The right-hander finished '11 converting 43 of 48 save opportunities, finishing with a 2.44 ERA. He has saved 42 or more games in each of the past three seasons.
Bell is the third free agent closer to reach a deal this offseason, following Jonathan Papelbon's four-year, $50 million agreement with the Phillies, and the two-year contract for $14 signed by Joe Nathan with Texas.
At the recent general managers meetings, some of Bell's former GM's talked about the value of the reliever:
"He's done it for several years. He has the makeup, embraces the role, has replaced Trevor Hoffman," said San Diego GM Josh Byrnes. "I think in the NL West the lineups may not be as tough as the AL East, but you play a lot of 3-2, 4-3 games and closers become a big part of winning. It takes a physical toll for six months, and he's used to it. Being a closer in the NL West is not like the AL East because you're not facing the lineups, but for sixth months every night is a low-scoring, close game."
"He’s got huge guts. I think that’s the most important thing with a closer," said Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, Bell's GM the last two season in San Diego. "He never shied away. He can pitch four and five days in a row and maintain his velocity. I have no doubt he would transition very well. He never had any problems in interleague. He never had any problems on the road if you look at his home/road splits. That’s not something I worry about."
"To me, it’s really here," said Arizona (and former Padres) GM Kevin Towers, pointing to his to head. "The more I’ve watched great closers, the ones that are tough mentally, want to be out there, you can’t tell, they’re not breathing hard. Hoffman was like [Greg] Maddux as a starter. Or Mo Rivera. You can’t tell if it’s bases loaded, no one out. That’s a gift. That’s an incredible gift.
"Now, he’s been in a couple All-Star games. He pitched in New York for a while. He was young then and probably learned a lot pitching in a big market at a young age. I’m sure he’s comfortable at Petco [Park] and it’s a great park to pitch in, but he’s pitched in a lot of tough ballparks around baseball and been effective. I don’t think he would have any problem pitching with a large market club where there may be added pressure. Who knows? Once you get the big contract, people might react differently. He’s never had the big, big contract, but my sense is that he’d be fine."
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the return of LeGarrette Blount to Patriots training camp on Saturday, the first day of full pads practice for the defending Super Bowl champions.
Dickerson and Price discuss the RB position and who will get a majority of the workload. They also talk about missing Revis and the CB position. The boys also get into more Deflategate discussions with callers.
Dickerson and Price are live from Fenway today and kick off NFL Sunday discussing some of the events at Pats training camp this week. Then they get into the court battle between Brady and Goodell and where we go from here? The guys give their predictions on just how many games Brady will in fact sit out. They get into the Chris Mortenson situation after he backed out of the D&C interview. Finally, Trags (Mike Petraglia) of WEEI.com joins the boys live from training camp.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Michael joins Ben and Sam to discuss the wild NBA Free Agency period and the upcoming Celtics season.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Rob Bradford is joined by Weei.com’s John Tomase to talk about what the Red Sox might do now that Sam Kennedy has been named President of the team. Tomase raises the very interesting possibility of the Red Sox bringing in a veteran executive to call the shots when it comes to player acquisition.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox rookie, who had four hits, hit two home runs, and scored five runs in the win over the Rays at Fenway
Joe and Dave are joined by Pedro who was at the game and had his number 45 retired by the Red Sox in a very touching pregame ceremony. Pedro talks about going into the Hall of Fame, his time in Boston and love for the game of baseball.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Mike Florio gave us his thoughts on Brady's appeal.
The top stories of the day.
The guys discussed the future of the Red Sox leadership.
Ronda Rousey defended her UFC Bantamweight championship at UFC 190.
Chris Price reports from Foxboro about some of the battles at Training Camp.
Mike Napoli remains a member of the Red Sox, as the team did very little at the July 31st deadline.
Mikey rants about Sandoval's weight, his lack of extra base hits, and his overall poor production in the month of July. Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani join in.
Mikey Adams lets the Red Sox have it and welcomes callers who do the same. The Red Sox (stink)!
Mikey Adams and Lenny Megliola get 36 glorious minutes between games of a Monday doubleheader, and after an 11-1 Red Sox loss, to vent about the declining state of the team.
Mort finally talks about snubbing WEEI, Jay Pharoah imitates athletes, and Ronda Rousey kicks some ass.
Its Tom Brady's 38th birthday and we look back at some of his biggest milestones.
Intern extraordinaire Lucy joins Jerry once again to discuss the most vexing questions in the history of mankind: can men and women coexist? What are the differences between how men and women think? And how mean can women really be?
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