The New York Yankees have come to terms with 36-year-old right-hander Heath Bell, as Chad Jennings of LoHud.com reports. The former star closer has signed a minor league deal and will be assigned to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders.
Bell has had quite a hectic season thus far, as the Yankees will represent his fourth organization in the past seven months. The veteran reliever was dealt to the Rays in the offseason after a poor year with the Diamondbacks (4.11 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 4.5 K/BB, -0.2 WAR), however, Tampa Bay designated him for assignment in May following a 13-inning stint where he allowed 14 runs in just over 17 innings pitched. Just two weeks after his release, Bell signed a minor league deal with the Orioles that appeared promising in potentially bring him back to the majors. However, Bell was sub-par with Triple-A Norfolk and Baltimore appeared unlikely to bring him up any time soon, prompting Bell to opt out of his deal earlier this week.
Bell has now played in three-fifths of the AL East's organizations this season, though the odds of him joining the Yankees at the major league level this year are slim unless he can first conquer Triple-A. A three-time All-Star (2009-2011), Bell owns a career 3.49 ERA (3.17 FIP, 112 ERA+) with 168 saves and a 6.8 WAR. He has played 11 years in the majors with the Mets, Padres, Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rays.
To clear room for Bell on the Triple-A roster, the Yankees demoted right-hander Mark Montgomery to Double-A Trenton. Montgomery, 23, has enjoyed a solid season, posting a 3.03 ERA and 10.3 K/9 in 29.2 innings, though his control has been disastrous with a 5.5 BB/9. After dealing with shoulder problems last year, Montgomery's velocity has fallen off this season, which, along with his lack of control, is likely a contributing factor in the club's spurning of him in favor of Bell.