Tag Archive | "Heath Bell"

Bursting Bubbles

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Bursting Bubbles

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Will Emerson

The Blue Jays are not going to win the World Series. Well, I mean, not, not ever. I am sure they will win the World Series again at some point in time, but not in 2013. Yes, you read that correctly. It is not my opinion, it is a fact. No, I did not ride a Delorean into the future and steal Biff Tannen’s Sports Almanac. I am not a soothsayer. Well, you got me, I almost never say sooth. I am not a mind reader and I do not have ESP. I just know that that Toronto Blue Jays will not win the World Series in 2013. This is a boldish statement, I suppose. And I am sure the best way to back this up would be with statistical proof and some sort of makings of sound reasoning, which I don’t have per se. What I do have is the 2012 Miami Marlins.


In 2012 the Miami Marlins opened up their hearts and, well, checkbooks to Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle among others. They opened a new ballpark and they were the talk of the town. Expectations were high in the Sunshine State. The Marlins and their fans were ready to take the world, or at least the NL East, by storm. So how did that work out for the Marlins? Well they finished absolutely dead last in the NL East. They took absolutely nothing by storm. Now the Toronto Blue Jays are not the Miami Marlins, despite Toronto being the Miami of Canada, but you have to admit there are a few glaring similarities.

The 2012 Marlins went out and got themselves a superstar speedster shortstop. So did the 2013 Blue Jays. The exact same superstar shortstop, to be specific. The 2012 Marlins had a new manager. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had another speedster, to go along with their superstar speedster shortstop, by the name of Emilio Bonifacio. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins got Mark Buehrle to supplement their rotation and eat some delicious innings. So did the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had Josh Johnson in their rotation. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had a fading starting pitcher named Ricky. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had a couple of “superstar” hitters returning. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. Quite a few similarities there, wouldn’t ya say? Of course with similarities, there are some differences as well.

Unlike the 2012 Marlins, the 2013 Blue Jays did not, or have not, inked a “big time” closer. But, they don’t have a totally proven closer either (although I do like Santos and Jannsen) and after Bell kind of had some early season implosions it did not look like the 2012 Marlins did either. Also, the 2012 Miami Marlins did not sign a Cy Young starting pitcher like 2013 Blue Jays did. Even if R.A. Dickey does not, and he more than likely won’t, duplicate his 2012, he could still be a very reliable starter and I feel that does give the 2013 Blue Jays a slight edge over the 2012 Marlins in the starting rotation area. The 2013 Blue Jays also, unlike the 2012 Marlins, added another All-Star outfielder. But, in Melky Cabrera, does anyone really know what to expect in 2013, post PED suspension? At the very least he could be a Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison for the Jays, so there is that. The 2013 Jays also have Edwin Encarnacion, which is maybe one more bat the 2012 Marlins did not have. So yeah, on paper, the 2013 Blue Jays are a slightly better looking team than the Marlins were a year ago, but I still think Blue Jays fans will be in for a disappointing season.

I feel like there is just so much darned hype and foofarah surrounding the busy Blue Jay off-season and the team they have put together for 2013. It is a classic trap. A set up for what will seem like failure. In baseball especially there is just a certain, as the French would say, “I don’t know what” that causes what appears to be a very good team on paper, to just not come together as a cohesive unit and win a bunch of games. Look, I can’t say for sure that it is World Series or bust for the Jays and their fans, but if they don’t make the playoffs, at least, you would have to think that the season would definitely be considered as something of a failure. You know what, I am stating here first, not only will the Blue Jays not win the 2013 World Series, they will not make the playoffs in 2013. Boom. Roasted.

Not only do I expect a fairly sizable regression from Dickey and Cabrera, but even without that, the Jays are also in arguably the toughest division in baseball. The Yankees always find ways to win despite whatever soap operatic-like drama or supposed gaping weakness or what have you they may have going on. The Rays have just an all around solid squad with some superb pitching to boot. The Orioles made the playoffs last season somehow and the Red Sox should be much improved over last season (although it would be hard for them to not be). The Blue Jays have a scary roster to be sure and I can’t say how convincing my argument has been, but I am just not ready to hand anything over to them just yet. I mean, R.A. Dickey had a downright spectacular 2012, but he is no Dave Stieb. I just feel like history is getting ready to repeat itself..sort of.

Hey, I’m not saying the Blue Jays are going to finish last in their division like the 2012 Marlins did. I am certainly not saying that Blue Jays fans should not be excited about their chances. I am just saying that someone needs to burst the bubble. Well, okay, I guess no one has to go bursting the bubble, I just wanted to do it, what of it? Jays fans should just temper their expectations a tad, so they will not be as crushed come October when their team is no longer playing, much like those poor, poor souls in Miami, four months ago. But hey, what do I know, right? Well, okay, I do know this is definitely the most times I have typed the numbers 2012 and 2013 in a single post. Good day and godspeed!

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Finding Keepers: Miami Marlins

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Finding Keepers: Miami Marlins

Posted on 22 March 2012 by Aaron Somers

The transformation from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins involved much more than a name change. There’s a new stadium. A new manager. A new shortstop. A new left-handed starter. A new closer. New expectations. But in the end the Marlins have assembled a group of talented players but a roster with just as many question marks as sure things. There’s potential there, on paper, but which players from the group are actual keeper candidates?

SS Jose Reyes is an easy choice to leadoff, both this list and the Marlins lineup. Some have questioned the switch-hitter’s motivation in years past, only to see him have a career year in a contract year. Those same people may expect him to return to those poor habits now that he’s gotten his big contract, but Reyes seems determined to prove his critics wrong.

RF Giancarlo Stanton – or Mike, as you may know him better as – has had “Home Run Leader” written all over him since he first arrived in the Majors wearing a Marlins uniform. Two seasons into his career he averages 36 HR and 95 RBI. In any 5X5 league those numbers are beneficial and valuable. And he’s just going to continue getting better.

SP Josh Johnson has started off each of the past two seasons by pitching to a sub-2.00 ERA through the first third of the season. Last year, of course, an injury cut his season short after just 9 starts (and 60.1 innings) but the results were once again there for the right-hander. If he can remain healthy, he’s a worthy addition to any fantasy baseball lineup.

CL Heath Bell is a unique case as the value of a closer, or any reliever for that matter, is entirely dependent on how your league is setup. Saves/holds, K/9, and ERA are the main categories that must be factors if you’re going to consider keeping a closer at any point in time. The position contains just too much volatility for it to be worth focusing on the back end of the bullpen. But if those categories mean something to your league, Bell’s a name worth keeping an eye on.

3B Hanley Ramirez‘s shift to third base lets him take advantage of some positional scarcity (the same exists at shortstop, but the pool of talented third baseman is seemingly shallower) which could boost him into that “keeper quality” player. Much of this is ultimately going to depend on how Ramirez performs at the plate, as his production has slipped the past two seasons in both the power and speed categories.

SP Mark Buehrle was Miami’s big starting pitching acquisition of the winter and the left-hander has been a reliable workhorse his entire career. He’s topped the 200 inning mark 11 seasons in a row, averages 15 wins per season, and holds a career ERA of 3.83.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@BlogFTBleachers) for more of my thoughts on the great game of baseball. You can also follow my coverage of the Washington Nationals at District on Deck and the game as a whole at Blogging From The Bleachers.

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DOs And DONTs:  Miami Marlins

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DOs And DONTs: Miami Marlins

Posted on 25 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With the team moving into a new stadium in 2012, the Miami Marlins looked to make a big splash this offseason and build an instant contender. The additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle make the team a formidable foe for the likes of the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

Here is a look at the Do’s and Don’ts as we run through the new and improved Marlins roster:

DO watch Hanley Ramirez closely this spring.  After a year in which he struggled with back and shoulder issues, posting the lowest OPS (.712) of his career, we should expect some regression to the mean from Hanley, provided he’s healthy.  Keep an eye on his power stroke this spring to see if he’s fully back.  Also, with his move to third base, Hanley will soon gain dual eligibility this season, thus increasing his value.

DON’T sleep on Jose Reyes.  He is still one of the top shortstops in the majors and won the NL batting title in 2011.  He probably won’t reach double digit homeruns again and I wouldn’t count on another batting title.  But he’s still good for around 40 stolen bases and an average over .300.

DO monitor Josh Johnson‘s progress this spring.  Coming off a shoulder injury, no one knows exactly what to expect this year for the Marlin’s Ace.  He made only 9 starts in 2011, before being sidelined, but, if healthy, he is one of the top 3-4 pitchers in the NL.  He threw a pain free bullpen session on Wednesday and hopes to be ready for the start of the season.

DON’T expect much from Carlos Zambrano and you won’t be disappointed.  Acquired from the Chicago Cubs for Chris Volstad, Zambrano is a shell of his former self.  After pitching over 200 innings each year from 2003-2007, Zambrano has failed to reach that mark each of the last 4 years.  Part of that is due to suspensions he received the last two years, but its pretty clear that he is no longer the workhorse he used to be.  Leave him for the NL only leagues.

DO expect a rebound from Omar Infante.  He had some bad luck last year, but seemed to turn things around in the second half of the season.  Just don’t expect much in the speed or power departments.

DON’T draft John Buck.  He has some power, but his average will hurt you, especially in Roto leagues.  Unless you have a Ryan Braun on your team, who can offset Buck’s low average, you should pass.

I DO expect big things from Mike Stanton.  The guy has some prodigious power and could easily top 40 homeruns this season.  He probably won’t hit much more than .260, but if he gives you 40+ homers and 100+ RBI’s, you can forgive him for a modest batting average.

DON’T expect to hear from Chris Coghlan, at least not in a Marlins uniform.  The former Rookie of the Year, has fallen out of favor with the Marlins and will likely begin the season in the minors or with another team.

I DO like Anibal Sanchez.  After struggling with injuries early in his career, he has put together back-to-back strong seasons.  If he can continue to stay healthy, look for more of the same in 2012.

I DON’T like Ricky Nolasco.  He has failed each of the last 3 years to rekindle the magic of his 2008 season and was rumored to be on the trading block.

DO expect bigger and better things from Gaby Sanchez.  Although he put up nearly identical stats in 2010 and 2011, there are signs of growth.  He showed a better eye in 2011, increasing his walks from 57 to 74, while keeping the same high contact rate (83%).  He could approach .300 and 25 homeruns in 2012.

I DON’T know what to make of Logan Morrison.  I considered him a bit of a sleeper last year, but while he increased his power output, he struggled with a .247 average.  He was demoted to the minors mid-year and later filed a grievance against the club, prompting speculation that he could be traded.  For now he is still with the team, the question is for how long?

DO draft Emilio Bonifacio.  An excellent source of speed, Bonifacio should net you 40+ stolen bases.  However, be wary of that .296 average from 2011, as a second half hit % of 40% is not sustainable.  Expect something more in the .260-.270 range.

DON’T waste a roster spot on Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez).  The former Marlins closer was caught in an identity fraud this winter and may not start the season with the team.

DO draft Heath Bell.  With Oviedo’s status uncertain, the Marlins signed Bell to assume the closer role.  He is one of the best and most consistent closers in the majors and, barring injury, should be the Marlins closer for the next 3 years.

Finally, DON’T forget about Mark Buehrle.  He is not a sexy pitcher and he will not rack up a bunch of strikeouts.  But what he will give you is 13-15 wins and an ERA around 3.50.  So, while other guys are chasing the next big rookie, don’t be afraid to take Buehrle in the middle rounds.

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Ring my Bell – Why Heath Bell should be on your Fantasy Roster

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Ring my Bell – Why Heath Bell should be on your Fantasy Roster

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Trish Vignola

It is the middle of your draft. You have to fill the rest of your roster spots.  You’re 30 seconds away from making your choice. The clock ticks down.  You don’t have a closer and Mariano Rivera is long gone.  You see Heath Bell.  Should you draft him?  Didn’t he used to be New York Met?  Sure, but he learned to pitch the second they traded him back in 2006. The clock strikes zero. You’re up.  What do you do?

Since Heath Bell’s tenure with the Mets as well as the San Diego Padres, Major League Baseball has definitely sat up and taken notice of Bell’s prowess. According to ESPN.com, he agreed to a three-year deal worth $27 million with the newly minted Miami Marlins.  Back in the highly competitive National League East, this is Bell’s shot to show he’s ready for the big time.  Now, does he deserve a spot in your big time?

Heath Bell has racked up a career 134 saves, 494 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.   He might be 34 years old (i.e. slightly north his career’s midpoint), but he’s just getting better with age.  He has kept his ERA under 3.00 for the past three seasons.  In those same years, he has delivered at least 40 saves a season.   He converts over 83% of his save opportunities and only blew l5 saves last season. He also kept his WHIP very respectfully under 1.20.

So, what are Heath Bell’s potential capabilities now that he’s a Marlin?  Let’s face it. He has spent his career on some pretty miserable teams, and by miserable, I mean the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres.  The Miami Marlins are making some moves though.  Bell will be joining the team with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and new manager, Ozzie Guillen.  They are not as good as the Phillies, but they are going to put up a fight.  Heath Bell will have more support than he’ll know what to do with.

Juan Oviedo, the artist formally known as Leo Nunez, will welcome Heath Bell to the bullpen.  Oviedo would move from closer to set-up.  If Oviedo can get his identity straightened out with the Dominican authorizes and is cleared to play, Bell would be a part of a pretty lethal one-two combination at the end of the game.

Heath Bell is by no means Mariano Rivera, but the chance that you land Mo in the draft is slim to nil.  There’s only one of him and he’s going to go early.  Bell, a two-time Relief Award Winner and easily one of the top ten relievers in the league, is a pretty interesting alternative.  Even though his strikeout numbers have dipped, his other numbers have stayed consistently strong for three years.  He’s got a lot of baseball left in him, and with an upgrade in his team, he’s got all the tools to just get better.

Heath Bell isn’t going to go cheap on your draft day but you shouldn’t need to break the bank on him either.  Based on his new team, if he stays healthy, Bell is going to deliver for your Fantasy Baseball team.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going for him.  (Jeez! I hope I just didn’t give away my draft strategy.)

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Where Will The Remaining Big Name Free Agents End Up?

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Where Will The Remaining Big Name Free Agents End Up?

Posted on 04 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

With only a little over two weeks until pitchers and catchers report, there are still a handful of big name free agents left on the market.

Here is a look at where they might end up:

Yoenis Cespedes
Cespedes is the best free agent available at this time and there are a number of teams interested in him. The two biggest suitors for his services are the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs. However, the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers are also involved.

The Marlins would love to add Cespedes to their roster and, with the large Cuban community in Miami, he would be a great draw for their team. They are moving into a new stadium and have spent big this offseason, signing Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Cespedes could be the final piece to their puzzle.

The Cubs are in rebuilding mode, but see Cespedes as a building block for the future. They have some money to spend, but probably won’t go overboard, perhaps turning their attention to fellow Cuban Jorge Soler if the bidding on Cespedes gets too high.

As for the other teams, the White Sox may appeal to Cespedes, as they have Cubans Alexi Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo on their roster. The question is whether they have the money to compete with the other teams.

My guess is the Marlins will overspend to get Cespedes.

Prediction: Marlins – 6 Years, $45 million

Roy Oswalt
According to Ken Rosenthal, Oswalt appears intent on pitching for either the St. Louis Cardinals or the Texas Rangers. Problem is, neither team has an opening in their rotation.

The Cardinals are attempting to trade Kyle McClellan in an attempt to clear salary space for Oswalt. Meanwhile Texas met with Oswalt on Monday, but have not made an offer and, according to Jeff Wilson of the Texas Star-Telegram, are not likely to sign him.

The Red Sox have expressed interest and reportedly made an offer to Oswalt last week, but seem to have moved on.

Given Oswalt’s preferences, it seems that the Cardinals may be the only possibility.

Prediction: Cardinals – 1 Year, $5 million plus incentives

Johnny Damon
Damon probably will not sign anywhere until his price comes down. He is currently seeking $5 million or more for a one-year deal and has received very little interest at that price.

The Mets could be a suitor, if his price drops, as they are looking for a left-handed outfielder.  However, they are looking at other options as well.

The Tigers were a possibility, but after signing Prince Fielder, they probably are out of the mix.

The Yankees have also been mentioned as a possibility and could use him as a DH.  But they are looking at other options too.

Prediction:  Mets – 1 Year, $2.5 million plus incentives

Vlad Guerrero
Like Damon, Guerrero is also looking for a deal north of $5 million and he also has received little interest.

Guerrero’s agent has been in contact with the Yankees, but otherwise his market has been pretty quiet.  The Yankees need a DH to replace Posada, so Guerrero could be a fit.

Prediction:  Yankees – 1 Year, $2.5 million plus incentives

Manny Ramirez
One of the most intriguing names on the market, Ramirez sat out all of 2011 after testing positive a second time for using performance enhancing drugs.  He will need to serve a 50-game suspension no matter who he signs with.  Thus, he should come cheap.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the A’s and Orioles have shown the most interst, however it is unclear if either team has made an offer.  The rumors linking him to the A’s have been swirling around for a while now and that is where he will probably end up.

Prediction:  A’s – 1 Year, $1 million plus incentives

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