Nationals Sign Heath Bell To Minor League Deal

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The Washington Nationals have signed relief pitcher Heath Bell to a minor league deal, according to Chris Cotillo. The deal includes an invite to major league spring training. Bell will compete for a spot in the Nationals bullpen during spring training.

Bell, 37, has spent parts on 11 years in the major leagues. He has a 3.49 ERA in 590 career appearances. Bell most recently appeared in 13 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014. He posted a 7.17 ERA in 17.1 innings. He also spent time in the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles organizations in 2014.

Bell came up with the New York Mets in 2004. In three years with the Mets, Bell was up and down. He had a 4.92 ERA in NY. The Mets traded Bell to the San Diego Padres in November of 2006.

Bell spent 2007 and 2008 setting up for Trevor Hoffman. In 2009, he stepped into the closer role after Hoffman was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Bell spent three years as the Padres closer. He saved 42 games in 2009, 47 in 2010 and 43 in 2011. Bell was selected to the all-star game all three years.

As a free agent following the 2011 season, Bell signed a three-year $27 million deal with Miami Marlins. He was in and out of the closer role. In 63.2 innings, Bell posted a 5.09 ERA.

Bell was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in October of 2012. He started the year as a middle reliever and was eventually elevated to the closer role before injuring his elbow in May. Following the season he was traded to the Rays.

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