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D’Backs, A’s and Marlins pull off three-way deal: Heath Bell to Arizona, Chris Young to Oakland

Oct 20, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

Heath Bell Getty Getty Images

Here’s doozy of a trade to break up an otherwise quiet day around major league baseball.

Per announcements from the clubs involved, the Diamondbacks, Athletics and Marlins have pulled off a three-way trade which will send Heath Bell to Arizona and Chris Young to Oakland.

Here are the specifics as we have them right now:

The Diamondbacks dealt outfielder Chris Young and cash considerations to the Athletics for infielder Cliff Pennington and prospect infielder Yordy Cabrera. The Diamondbacks then sent Cabrera to the Marlins in exchange for reliever Heath Bell to complete the three-team deal.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Diamondbacks will cover $13 million of the $21 million remaining on Bell’s contract. It’s clear that something had to be done with the disgruntled reliever after his disastrous first season in Miami, where he clashed with manager Ozzie Guillen and even some teammates. With that in mind, the Marlins have to be thrilled that they were able to not only get rid of Bell, but somehow convince the Diamondbacks to cover the majority of his remaining salary.

We knew the Diamondbacks would likely deal at least one of their outfielders this winter, but it’s hard to believe Kevin Towers couldn’t do better than this as a return for Young, especially considering the money they will now owe to a declining reliever. And in a poor environment for a bounceback, to boot. Towers must really like Pennington, but it’s hard to understand the rush. The Diamondbacks picked up the option on J.J. Putz‘s contract for 2013 this morning, so Bell will be asked to pitch in a set-up role with his new club.

This looks like an excellent deal for the Athletics, even though Young is a bit of a curious fit with Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick set in the corner outfield spots and Coco Crisp under contract for $7 million for next season. Still, hard to pass up a deal for a talented center fielder at this price. They likely got a bit of a discount because of Young’s shoulder injury from this season.

Young, 29, is owed $8.5 million in 2013 while his contract includes an $11 million club option for 2014 or a $1.5 million buyout. Per Steve Gilbert of, the Diamondbacks are sending $500,000 to Oakland as part of the deal.

Given the surplus of outfield talent with the A’s, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see some more wheeling and dealing from Billy Beane soon, possibly with a deal involving Crisp or Seth Smith. It’s also worth noting that by dealing Pennington to the Diamondbacks, the A’s are more likely to exercise their portion of the $10 million player option Stephen Drew‘s contract for next season.

Cabrera was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Athletics’ organization by Baseball America coming into this season, but his numbers have been pretty underwhelming as a pro. The 22-year-old has a .230/.297/.351 batting line and a .648 OPS over three seasons and has yet to play above High-A. This was mostly about the Marlins getting out from under Bell’s contract. And they certainly accomplished that goal.

  1. manifunk - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    This trade makes literally no sense for any team except for Oakland.

    Beane’s done it again.

    • damnws6 - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      Bell sucked for the Marlins and then disrespected the coach. Plus his contract was ridiculous. Obviously a contract/cancer dump for the Fish.

    • Old Gator - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      The Feesh unload a malcontent who was pretty close to detested by his teammates and was a total bust on the field, and they get a prospect in return. At the very least, it’s addition by subtraction. The story on the ground here in Macondo is that the Feesh will pay $8 million of Bell’s remaining $21 million, which is not a bad deal for them considering what a millstone he had become. Makes great sense for the Feesh. For the Snakes? Damned if I can figure out what they saw in Bell, but it’s great to be rid of him.

      • manifunk - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        “A prospect” in this case is a guy whose ceiling is Wilson Valdez

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        The Marlins could have traded Bell for Manifuunk, and the Marlins would have come out ahead in this deal.

    • dcfan4life - Oct 21, 2012 at 4:43 AM

      Best GM in baseball. Seriously, he is the man.

  2. butchhuskey - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Nice work by Billy Beane, but knowing him he’s far from done dealing. He’ll probably try to trade for a second baseman, which is Oakland’s greatest weakness.

    • natslady - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      Nats have an extra (Lombardozzi) but he won’t come cheap.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        Given Lombardozzi the Younger’s versatility and low cost, very hard to see Rizzo doing that.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      • natstowngreg - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:33 PM

        Mighty fine lookin’ crowbar you have there.

      • thebadguyswon - Oct 20, 2012 at 8:31 PM

        Earth to Nats fans…the baseball world does not revolve around you.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        The Nats have a young player who might be attractive to a team needing a 2B. Like the D-Backs, perhaps? How is this not a legitimate subject for a little trade speculation? After all, there is no requirement that trade speculation be realistic.

        Or perhaps, you couldn’t resist the urge to behave like a jerk.

  3. willclarkgameface - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I think an actual fish runs the Marlins front office. They are idiots. They were idiots for signing Bell and they are idiots for attempting to fix the problem by not really fixing the problem.

    The A’s win again. Billy Beane is a genius – almost. To get the crown he has to win that damn World Series finally. He’s been close and his guys have let him down big time in the postseason. I think he’s getting crazy hungry for it.

    • thebadguyswon - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Yes they are. Already dumping one of their big signings. Reyes to the Yankees in a year or so.

      • Old Gator - Oct 20, 2012 at 10:59 PM

        Um – and what would they need to do to prove to you that they were serious about building a winner – hold on to a guy who blew save after save after save?

    • florida76 - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      Time will tell if this deal will pan out for the A’s. Billy Beane is a smart guy, but the reality of the situation is that the A’s have horrible in the postseason during his tenure. Only one ALCS appearance, and the A’s were swept in that one.

  4. thebadguyswon - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Wow….Bravo, Billy.

  5. natstowngreg - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    They didn’t even give us time for speculation on levels of “interest” and ‘mystery teams” and other bits of mindless trade speculation. How rude.

    Hmmm, the Fish added by subtraction; the Snakes added a setup man and infield depth; and the White Elephants made a trade to set up a trade to be named later.

  6. weaselpuppy - Oct 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Crisp 2 yrs more-$13m Cespedes 3 more years..Reddick 4 more cheap Young 1 and done at 8.5 and Seth Smith 2 more arby years at likely $7m total….yet no 2b and only Drew’s $10m option at SS? first deal of a few I believe.

    Feesh- Get a SS…which they already have…need a 3b (or 2b) but means Bonifacio to CF with Coghlan Ruggiano Stanton and LoMo out there….

    Snakes- picked up Putz’s option today and want to do a long term with him….

    everyone loading up on strengths in this deal? weird….

    • Old Gator - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Cabrera needn’t be a part of the Feesh’s plans. He might well be trade fodder. They were no doubt thrilled to be rid of Bell and Cabrera is barely an afterthought. The most cringeworthy scenario we’ve been hearing down here was that they might have had to staple Bell to Josh Johnson to get rid of him, and that would have been horrible. If they can hang onto JJ, it gives them some serious flexibility to deal Reecky Nolasco and his evil pod twin. If JJ had been traded, they’d’ve been well and truly stuck with Reecky, who has really used up more than his share of chances to achieve some kind of consistency.

      Coghlan won’t figure either; he’s a recognized bust, and they’ll either trade or release him. They’ve got Petersen and Dobbs for spare outfielders to go with the Iron Giant, Bonifacio and Ruggiano. They’ll be shopping hard for a third baseman over the weenter, and if they get any kind of offer for Tweeter, he’s gone too – you can only be so stupid about the same thing so many times. They’ll shop Petersen as well. I suspect even Beinfest has figured out by now that Morrison is a mediocrity at best. I wonder if Beinfest sees Gio Gonzalez, the peetcher they would have had if they’d been willing to part with Tweeter last orfseason, in his troubled dreams these days.

      • weaselpuppy - Oct 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM

        LoMo is Brennan Boesch’s annoying twin…..

  7. shaggylocks - Oct 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    “Young, 29, is owed $8.5 million in 2013 while his contract includes an $11 million club option for 2013 or a $1.5 million buyout.”

    Wait, what is he owed in 2013?

    • D.J. Short - Oct 20, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      Good catch. Fixed.

  8. jwag777 - Oct 21, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Just what the A’s needed….another player that strikes out 150 times a season….

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Oct 21, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      Times have changed…150 strikeouts don’t necessarily make you a poor offensive player anymore.

  9. scratchnsniffnblog - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Good riddance to Bell. Don’t let the door hit you on your sensitive a$$. But watch it close, so you see how that’s done.

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