Rays Release Heath Bell

The Rays have released reliever Heath Bell, according to the MLB.com transactions page.  Tampa Bay designated the 36-year-old for assignment one week ago.

The move doesn’t come as a surprise since Bell didn’t figure to draw a ton of trade interest.  By releasing Bell, the Rays will continue to be on the hook for $5.5MM of his $9MM salary, per the terms of their trade that brought him in.

Bell, 36, is three years removed from his All-Star form and was struggling mightily to start off 2014. In 13 outings (17.1 innings), Bell posted a 7.27 ERA with 12 strikeouts and eight walks. This surely wasn’t the result that the Rays were hoping for when they acquired Bell in a three-team December deal.

While catcher Ryan Hanigan continued his solid defense with an improved slash line (.259/.344/.412), Bell floundered.  In his last three seasons bouncing between the Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rays, Bell owns a 4.91 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. That’s a far cry from the previous three years he enjoyed with the Padres where he posted a 2.36 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 en route to three straight All-Star selections.

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