Free agent reliever Heath Bell is drawing serious interest from four teams including the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners, according to baseball sources with knowledge of the process. Bell is currently evaluating offers and deciding which of the four teams is the best fit for him, meaning that he will likely sign within the next couple of days.
Bell, 36, seems likely to sign a minor league contract that will have him head to Triple-A for a couple of weeks before joining a team's major league bullpen. He was recently designated for assignment and subsequently released by the Rays, with whom he was 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in thirteen relief appearances so far this season.
In eleven major league seasons with the Mets (2004-2006), Padres (2007-2011), Marlins (2012), Diamondbacks (2013) and Rays (2014), Bell is the owner of a lifetime 3.49 ERA and 168 saves. He was an NL All-Star in three consecutive seasons from 2009 to 2011.
The Orioles and Mariners, who both have team bullpen ERAs that rank among the top half of the league, appear to be actively looking to make bullpen additions. Both teams were among at least ten teams that watched free agent Todd Coffey throw a bullpen for teams on Tuesday, and both are making serious attempts to sign Bell. Despite their bullpen struggles, it does not appear that the Astros or Tigers are among the final four in the Bell sweepstakes.