The Marlins have signed closer Heath Bell to a 3-year, $27 million deal pending a physical according to Jayson Stark via twitter and confirms earlier rumors we heard from several sources. Jim Bowden adds that there's a vesting option in year four.
This definitely signals a departure from previous strategy for the Marlins, as they're now investing $9M per year for a 34 year-old closer with all the signs (a dropping K rate) of a sudden fade.* Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel calls it a philosophical shift and notes that "Health" Bell (hehe) was paid $7.5M last year. He also notes that the Marlins had previously inquired on Bell in 2009, but the asking price of Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller was too high.
The San Diego Padres were rumored to be competing with the Marlins but ultimately lost out to the team willing to
waste more invest more money.
*Stark makes an interesting point on Bell regarding his K-rate:
- Miami Marlins agree with closer Heath Bell on three-year deal, sources say - ESPN
While Bell's strikeout rate declined in 2011, from 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 2010 to 7.3 this year, his average fastball velocity (94 mph), WHIP (1.15), ERA (2.44) and opponent average (.223) were all in line with his previous performance.