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Blog Entry

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

Posted on: December 2, 2011 7:17 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 7:28 am
 
If they're not serious, they're crazy.

I'll go with serious.

You don't spend $9 million a year on a closer if you're not serious about trying to win. And the Marlins just gave Heath Bell $27 million for the next three years.

If it's their only big move of the winter, it makes no sense. But if it's their only big move of the winter, that would be a shock.

As CBSSports.com colleague Scott Miller wrote Thursday, the Marlins are optimistic about signing Jose Reyes, one of the biggest free agents out there. They're aiming high on the starting pitching market, as well, with Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson both having admired the new ballpark in Miami.

Already, they've done what Marlins teams in recent years haven't, by committing significant money to the back of the bullpen. Sources confirmed to CBSSports.com that Bell agreed to a deal late Thursday night, and that it will pay him $9 million a year.

For a closer, that's serious money.

You know the only closers who are signed for $9 million or more next year?

Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Valverde . . . and Heath Bell.

The stat guys can argue about whether any closer is worth that much. I'll only tell you that Bell is the one and only closer in baseball with 40 saves each of the last three years, and that he has done it with an outstanding 90.4 percent conversion rate.

Having a good closer guarantees you nothing. Bell's Padres lost 91 games in 2011, even as he had another fine year.

But teams serious about winning understand that they'd better have an outstanding closer, even if it means committing big money (it doesn't always, as the Braves proved with rookie Craig Kimbrel).

At this point, we've got to count the new Marlins as serious.

And if they follow it up by signing Reyes and a starting pitcher, we'll count them as very, very serious.

Oh, and as for the Padres, the team Bell hoped to stay with?

There's no way they could justify spending $9 million a year on a closer. But this works out for them, too. They'll get two draft picks, a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds, and the ninth pick in the second round.

In the past, that second pick would have come from the Marlins, but under a clause in the new basic agreement between the players and owners, Bell's signing didn't cost the Marlins a draft pick.

Signing Reyes would cost them a pick, but that's fine. They can afford it -- just as they could afford $27 million for a closer.

Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

34? Old?

Isn't one of the best in game closing up games in the Bronx at 42?



Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: December 4, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

Bell's 34 years old, has decling K rates, will be moving away from Petco and, even if everything goes right, will only be pitching about 70 of the team's 1,450 innings. You can build a bullpen on the cheap because it's much easier to find players capable of pitching one good inning than seven good innings. Someone like Ryan Webb can accumulate as many cheap saves as Bell. 



Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2011 9:48 am
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

I'm not sure why some people here see this as a terrible investment on the Marlins behalf.  Did they get good value? No, they certainly paid top dollar but that doesn't mean they 'overpaid'.  The Marlins blew 19 saves last season (MLB average is 19 for all teams) out of 59 attempts (67.7%).  There are 12 teams with team salaries over 100 million, and 19 over 75 million and when you consider that it will take about 95 wins to guarantee a division title then you start to see what each team pays for each win.  If the Marlins can get a 10 game win improvement by acquiring Bell then the $9 mill is worth it to them because in simple math terms 95 million (team salary) for 95 wins is a cost of $1 mill per win.  When you consider the MLB wild card, and a new spot added, the Marlins really must be targeting about 91 wins needed to make it to the wild card round.  The Marlins won 72 games last year and need about 20 more next season to get a playoff spot and I think it will take more than a closer to get it donebut this is a step in the right direction.  They just need to figure out now how to generate 10 more wins and that will come with a new leadoff hitter in Reyes who will get on base for Hanley, Stanton, Sanchez.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:43 am
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

The Marlins have won before (without being irresponsible spenders) and people didn't bother to come see em.  What makes em think that spending money will actually put people in the seats now?


I'll never understand why some teams can trot out a decent team year in and out and never attract fans... yet you can serve up a turd sandwhich on the South Side of Chicago every year and get 3 millions fans in the seats.
Their first championship year the averaged over 29,000 fans. Unfortunately they quickly dismantled that team, so they could not build upon it.

Chicage has never had a 17 million dollar payroll. Chicago does not get rid of every player once they start to get good. Lets compare how long the two organizations have been around.



Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:23 am
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

They're serious, but I don't know how smart they are. I don't think there's any bigger mistake in baseball than overpaying a closer. Well, maybe there is one: Miami overpaying anyone. No one in Florida cares about sports. They don't. You can't make them, either. We've learned that lesson time and time again.
I think you under estimate the worth of a great closer. Marlins have not had a reliable closer in a while. They have blown some many games in late innings. Josh Johnson would have a lot more wins if the Marlins had a decent relief staff.

A lot of people down here care about sports - just not Florida sports teams. A lot of the population are from other states (or countries) and follow their hometown teams.



Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

They're serious, but I don't know how smart they are. I don't think there's any bigger mistake in baseball than overpaying a closer. Well, maybe there is one: Miami overpaying anyone. No one in Florida cares about sports. They don't. You can't make them, either. We've learned that lesson time and time again.



Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:12 pm
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

The Marlins will be having a fire sale in about 2 years.

New Stadium.  Looks like they are serious about some new big $ contracts.

Great! 

Too bad 5000 people in the seats won't pay for either.

The Marlins have won before (without being irresponsible spenders) and people didn't bother to come see em.  What makes em think that spending money will actually put people in the seats now?


I'll never understand why some teams can trot out a decent team year in and out and never attract fans... yet you can serve up a turd sandwhich on the South Side of Chicago every year and get 3 millions fans in the seats.



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

I think they are crazy!!!  They have a new stadium and a closer relationship with the city but the money they are forking over is to get butts in those seats not because they believe they can sign 34 yo guys and win anything!



Since: May 20, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

Knobler... seriously a draft pick is what a Padres fan is supposed to feel good about losing Bell? Yes they/we have our problems bigger than Bell could fix, but that is getting to be such a weak answer for everything. Look at the Padres drafts recently. Nothing has panned out. Draft picks are not our answer!


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