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.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price examine what direction the Patriots might take in the upcoming NFL draft and how the team will go about filing their needs, including replacing Darrelle Revis. Petraglia and Price also take a close look at the Patriots' 2015 schedule and what to expect this season.
Ian talks with Chris about the NFL offseason and specifically what the Pats have done and will do. He talks about NFL free agency, if Brandon Spike will come back to New England, all things NFL Draft and more in an extensive interview.
in hour 2 of NFL Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss some news from around the league including the Philip Rivers situation in San Diego, if the Titans may sign Rivers, where Marcus Mariota may end up, and what the Jets will do. Price talks with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about all things NFL offseason and the draft. Finally, the guys touch on if the NFL is over-saturating fans with too much coverage all year round now.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox super utility man Brock Holt, who hit the game winning 3 run home run that propelled the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, and played some stellar defense to seal the win.
Continued Red Sox talk on benching Victorino and the Red Sox pitching issues..and Sean's love for the band Poison.
Dale and Michael check in with the Red Sox manager John Farrell for his weekly take on all things Boston Red Sox.
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!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk talk about a set of parents who decided to have their child's gender changed into being a boy.
The guys talk about the Tsarnaev family arriving in Boston and staying at a local hotel. Michele McPhee joins the show to talk about the family.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk argue about whether or not Tom Brady's absence from the Patriots' trip to the White House was disrespectful or not.
Led by Christian Fauria, the guys delve into 5 topics relating to all the hometown teams. There is a new intro by a special guest, plus Lou Merloni, DJ extraordinaire, nails the post.
The guys debate whether or not the Celtics even have a chance against the Cavs in game 4 and what the mentality of fans should be.
We check in with Senior White House Correspondent Joe Zarbano on this edition of Aloha Friday
Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.
We talk to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com and discuss his column on Rajon Rondo from ESPN and ESPN the Magazine.
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Football fans and Fantasy Footballers know that there is NO Offseason in the NFL, so Jim and Pete are back with the first of a series of Fantasy Football Podcasts of the “NFL Draft variety.” Tune in and you’ll get an in depth analysis on Pete’s most first batch of scouting reports on this year’s crop of Rookie Targets. Jim and Pete kick it off with a lot of focus on a Runningback rich draft class, some of the top Wide Receiver talent and touch on the top Quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Enjoy!
Uncle Buck joins Chris on the show again to talk about Raw from 4/20, finishing maneuvers and gives a few classic match picks.
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
We listen in on the Patriots Super Bowl visit to the White House, and then discuss why MVP Tom Brady was not in attendance.More from this show
The guys talk about the Tsarnaev family arriving in Boston and staying at a local hotel. Michele McPhee joins the show to talk about the family.More from this show
Gary, Gerry and Kirk talk about a set of parents who decided to have their child's gender changed into being a boy.More from this show