The Marlins Ate $8 Million Worth Of Salary To Get Rid Of "Bitter Pariah" Heath Bell

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The Miami Marlins traded Heath Bell away to the Arizona Diamondbacks—well, gave him away and promised to pay part of his salary, more than traded—and the Miami Herald dispatch announcing his departure made sure to give him a good kneecapping on the way out.

You see, Heath Bell was not a roaring success in Miami. Brought in on a three-year deal worth $27 million, Bell had blown six saves by the All-Star break and lost the closer's job. He ended the season with a 5.09 ERA, by far the highest of his career since he left the Mets in 2006, and, more importantly, Bell made a lot of enemies in his short time with the Marlins. In order to get rid of him, Miami absorbed $8 million of the $21 million dollars he's still owed, and took back only Single-A infielder Yordy Cabrera. Why work so hard to make a deal, and give up so much in the process?

Given how the disgruntled Bell was a disaster on the mound and a pariah figure within his own clubhouse, the Marlins were more than happy to pay some of his salary just to get rid of him.

It took them only 17 days from the end of the season to find a trading partner - Arizona - willing to take him off their hands [...] The burly 35-year-old pitcher was not only one of the biggest busts the franchise has known, but he also was the biggest failure on an underperforming team that was full of them.


And this is the Marlins we're talking about—not a team unused to underperforming players. Is it possible to be awful enough at baseball that you get this kind of wave goodbye when you head to another franchise?

Unhappy with his diminished role, the bitter Bell was openly critical of pitching coach Randy St. Claire, the training staff, Marlins catchers, sportswriters, and even the Showtime production crew that filmed The Franchise. Bell said he was portrayed too negatively during the reality series.

For the Marlins, the final straw might have come the final week of the season when Bell, in a live radio interview, said it was "hard to respect" manager Ozzie Guillen.

The following day, Bell's teammates, in a show of support for Guillen, turned on the manager's weekly radio show inside the clubhouse, raised the volume, and made Bell listen to Guillen state that he no longer respected Bell "as a person."


Yep, that'll do it. Talking bad about your well-liked manager is one thing, taking issue with the framing of a reality show is another, and you're probably not having a great season if teammates are forcing you to listen to a radio show where your boss says he doesn't respect you. But the final straw, the thing that confirmed for sure that the Herald would whip out the 500-word denunciation that's probably been saved on an office computer since July, was that Heath Bell had the temerity—the gall—to criticize local sportswriters. Have fun in Arizona, asshole.

Miami Marlins Trade Closer Heath Bell For Prospects [Miami Herald]