SATURDAY: Assuming he makes the team, Bell will receive a $1M base salary with a possible $1M in incentives, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets.
MONDAY: The Nationals have reached a minor league contract with right-hander Heath Bell, the pitcher himself wrote in an exclusive guest column for The Players’ Tribune. The contract includes an invitation to big league Spring Training. Bell is a client of the Ballengee Group.
Bell, 37, was an All-Star closer with the Padres from 2009-11, pitching to a combined 2.36 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 132 saves in 202 1/3 innings of work. That excellent performance netted him a three-year, $27MM contract with the Marlins in their offseason spending spree prior to the opening of the new Marlins Park, but that deal proved to be an ill-fated move. Bell struggled to a 4.91 ERA over the past three seasons with three different teams — Miami, Arizona and Tampa Bay — changing hands often in salary dump trades.
Though Bell has struggled tremendously over the past three years, he does come with some upside and carries minimal risk on a minor league pact. The Nationals already possess a pair of strong closing options in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Presumably, Bell will battle to make the club and serve in a setup capacity to Storen.