Orioles Sign Heath Bell

9:17pm: Baltimore has announced the signing, pending a physical.

7:23pm: The Orioles have agreed to a minor league deal with reliever Heath Bell, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The contract includes two opt-outs and will only pay Bell at the major league minimum salary, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com, though of course he will still receive all of the $9MM he is owed under his old contract.

Bell was cut loose by the Rays recently after being designated for assignment. The 36-year-old righty has not been effective since signing his infamous, $27MM contract with the Marlins. Since the start of the 2012 season, Bell has a 4.91 ERA through 146 2/3 innings. While some of his peripherals over that stretch (8.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, and 3.99 FIP) suggest that he has not been quite as bad as his results, he has been a disappointment regardless. After all, Bell had averaged just 2.53 earned runs per nine over 374 innings in the previous five seasons.

Tampa took on $5.5MM of Bell’s salary in the hope that he could work a turnaround (and to facilitate other aspects of a complicated trade), but Bell has been even worse this year. At present, he owns a 7.27 ERA with just 6.2 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9. Now, the division-rival Orioles will look for the same, albeit with essentially no risk.


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