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Ozzie Guillen after another Heath Bell blown save: “We’ve got to do something about it”

May 5, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Heath Bell

Heath Bell blew another save last night, coughing up his fourth lead in seven tries, and afterward manager Ozzie Guillen finally seemed ready to make a change at closer after previously saying he’d stick with Bell through the struggles:

We’ll check tomorrow about what’s going to be the situation with the closer. We’ve got to do something about it. We can’t be waiting anymore. Tomorrow we might talk to him about the situation. If we’re going to be in the pennant race, he’s got to be better. Tomorrow we’ll have a better idea what to do with him.

If there’s any good news to be had within Bell’s performance it’s that he isn’t getting clobbered, allowing just one homer in 53 plate appearances. Unfortunately everything else is bad news, as he’s allowed a .385 batting average while walking 10 batters in 8.2 innings and has managed just six strikeouts. Oh, and his ERA is 11.42.

Bell’s strikeout rate dropping from 11.1 per nine innings to 7.3 per nine innings last season certainly hinted at a decline in raw stuff, particularly at age 34, but obviously a total collapse was unexpected following a season in which he saved 43 games with a 2.44 ERA.

Edward Mujica gives Guillen a good fallback option at closer, as he’s logged 252 innings with a 3.54 ERA and fantastic 217/43 K/BB ratio since 2009, but with Bell one month into a three-year, $27 million contract a long-term switch will be tough.

  1. johnnyb1976 - May 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    An ERA of 11.42 and he’s not getting clobbered? Sounds like clobbering time to me.

    • dondada10 - May 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      More than one way to skin a cat.

    • evanwins - May 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      I can only think about the offseason when everyone criticized The Phillies for the Papelbon deal and thought the Marlins got such a great deal with Bell.

      For a closer, you pay for consistency and health. Papelbon has proven himself in both. He is one of a very small group that has proven he can consistently save games and stay healthy/ Bell was not.

      And he was successful in PETCO, where 90% of deep fly balls are HR’s in other parks.

      The Marlins and The Angels – offseason champions who both live in last place.

      • Old Gator - May 6, 2012 at 6:52 AM

        Have you bothered to check out the dimensions of Macondo Banana Massacre Field? It’s another Forbidden Zone. Bell knew exactly what he was doing in that regard. Plus, you maybe can explain how the distance to the walls or the size of the outfield explains the fact that Bell is getting himself in trouble with walks? His problem is control so far. He’d be awful in PETCO too given his pitch location so far this season.

      • bigleagues - May 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM

        Old Gator:

        “Macondo Banana Massacre Field”

        You sir, are awesome.

        And that kind of shit is still happening today . . . and I would say to a far worse degree. Personally I refuse to eat or buy ‘blood bananas’. If I can’t find Equal Exchange organic bananas, I don’t buy them.

  2. AlohaMrHand - May 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    might be time to jump back into Wii Fit again Heath

  3. Gordon - May 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    The ghosts of Bobby Jenks & Matt Thornton are haunting Ozzie wherever he goes.

  4. chiadam - May 5, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    How much more evidence is needed before teams stop paying big money to closers? They flash and quickly fizzle. Remember, most closers are closers instead of starters because they only have one pitch that’s any good. When that pitch goes, you’re Heath Bell or Carlos Marmol.

    • Old Gator - May 6, 2012 at 6:53 AM

      Teams will stop paying big money to closers when they lose interest in winning ballgames.

  5. Kevin Gillman - May 5, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    My question is will Ozzie call Heath “fat” when he blows another save?

  6. giselleisasucubus - May 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    10 walks in 8 innings? I don’t watch the Marlins much, but my guess is he is giving up a walk, getting in trouble early and giving up too many hits when he does throw strikes. Papelbon had issues with walks the last 3 years, but he struck guys out w/baserunners on and it saved him, most of the time. Walks kill closers.

  7. bigleagues - May 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    I agree with Ozzie and I think MLB needs to get aggressively progressive about this Closer situation. There are only a handful of “sure thing” Closers (and one of them just went down for the season) and bullpens in general tend to fluctuate like the wind, so it’s not like the following idea is totally off the wall (ok, it is … yet it certainly it makes more sense than assigning home field advantage of the World Series to the league that wins the ASG).

    So let’s get all creative on this problem . . . like Selig-creative!

    During the off-season, we create a pool of Closers and Set-up men. I propose we take the Closer with the most Saves and the primary set-up man with the most Holds from each team for a Total of 60 relief Pitchers.

    Each player is randomly assigned a confidential number that only designated MLB officials know. Those numbers are placed on a mini-baseball and thrown into a Lotto style rotating cylinder.

    We will determine the drawing order by listing the teams in order of who had the least players participating in the most recently concluded seasons All-Star Game.

    The drawing will take place over two rounds at the Winter Meetings and be televised live on ESPN in between NCAA basketball games.

    Oh, and Bud? You owe me a goat.

    • bigleagues - May 5, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Ooops, I had to Check My Head . . .

      grand total would be “64” Relief Pitchers not 60.

  8. randygnyc - May 5, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    WTF bigleagues? Now teams are going to invest money and time into pitchers then let them go in a lottery weighted towards non performing teams? Sounds like you’ve been reading too much Karl Marx. Thank God ideas like this will never be considered in baseball. And thank God these types of ideas are being defeated in our gov’t too.

    • bigleagues - May 6, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      Ever hear of revenue sharing?

      And not-fer-nuthin’ but where are ‘these ideas being defeated in government’? Not NYC, that’s for sure.

      You must be in Michigan, where the GOP have staged an un-Constitutional, Democracy-averse takeover of state government.

  9. drewzducks - May 5, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Thanks for adding some humor to the conversation. God I hope that’s humor cuz if it’s not I want some of what you’re smoking. Cuz unless you’re living in fantasy land have you considered the likely possibility that in your scenario the Royals could be paying Mo Rivera $15M and the Astros paying Paps $12.5M. Unless of course you would expect the Yanks and Phils to subsidize a portion of the salaries. But then we’re back to your 99% vs the 1% philosophy.

    • bigleagues - May 6, 2012 at 8:34 AM

      You gotto use ‘bud’ to think like Bud I always say.

      And while the Royals might have to apply for State (MLB) assistance, no one should feel sorry for the Astros – located in Houston – the largest City in the 2nd largest State, the 5th largest metro area in the US and a top 10 media market.

      And if I’m the Royals, it’s the potential salary outlay that has me wanting to oppose this proposal . . . it’s the fact that they have Kelvin Herrera under control for the next 6 years.

      That guy makes Soria seem like the Mexibeauticianer.

  10. rosesacl - May 5, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Heath will turn it around, he’ll find his edge….

    • tomahawkmike - May 5, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      The edge of the cliff…

  11. icanspeel - May 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Even pitching back in Petco against the Padres he couldn’t find his groove. He made 1 good pitch to Denorfia or else he would have lost the game too. They were hitting the Fastball well and his curve was occasionally effective, but not reliable like it usually is.

  12. mungman69 - May 5, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Hey Bigleagues: you lost me. Is it imported or homegrown?

    • bigleagues - May 6, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      Homegrown. Always homegrown.

      Wished I some though. This was just an exercise in thinking like Bud.

  13. Old Gator - May 5, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Obamablowzsucks: any particular reason or, as your handle indicates, do you just get off on sounding like a schmuck all the time?

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