Nothing seemed to go right for the Miami Marlins this past season, and perhaps that’s why they’ve gone with the complete-overhaul approach this offseason. Former closer Heath Bell certainly didn’t find much success there, and while he wasn’t part of the team’s big trade with Toronto, he did get shipped to Arizona.
Bell will set up for closer J.J. Putz, though he doesn’t know what his exact role will be. He doesn’t dish much about his time in Miami, saying he might come back to it after the situations simmers down a bit, but says there was plenty of finger-pointing when the team didn’t meet expectations.
Heath Bell joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to discuss being traded to Arizona, if he’s OK with being a setup guy, if Miami’s firesale has surprised him, what happened in Miami when everything snowballed out of control and sliding into the pitcher’s mound.
How excited are you to get back out west and join Arizona?:
“I’m excited. The only person that’s ever traded for me is Kevin Towers and he’s done it twice and amazing things have happened. J.J.’s a great guy, a great closer. I’m excited to be the seventh- or maybe the eighth-inning guy. I’m just excited to go out there and try to help this team win. This team is, I think, only a few pieces missing from the puzzle, and hopefully I’m one of them.”
Being a former successful closer, are you OK with being that setup guy?:
“Yeah, you know, I always wanted to be the workhorse of the bullpen and I always wanted to close. When I was closing in San Diego, I was the workhorse as the closer. And before that, when I was setting up … I was the workhorse being in 80 games a year, 70 games a year. … Kind of a down year last year, but I’m excited to go out there and be a workhorse and show everybody what I can do.”
Were you surprised when Miami traded you to Arizona and then wrapped up the major deal with Toronto?:
“I wasn’t really that surprised about the trade when it first happened with myself, but then I was surprised that everybody else went off to Toronto. I’m actually really happy that I’m in Arizona and everybody else is in Toronto. It would’ve been kind of funny … to trade us all to the same team.”
Was your time with the Marlins just a situation where things snowballed out of control?:
“I think what happened is when you’re on national television, like the Showtime show, and everybody is looking at you, I think when things didn’t go the way we wanted to, I think everybody just kind of pointed fingers. I got caught up in doing that a little bit, too. I’m not ashamed to say I was a part of it. It’s just one of those things, it was a bad year. … It’s just unfortunate. It’s in the past. I want to move on. … It’s sad because Miami has a beautiful ballpark and is a great city.”
On a memorable moment where he slid into the pitcher’s mound during the All-Star Game:
“That year, there was a lot of ballplayers that didn’t want to go to the All-Star Game because it was just tough on their bodies and stuff. I just wanted to bring some fun back to the fans. And, who knows, I might do it again. Doctors might talk me into, ‘Don’t do that again, or maybe work on your slide.’ Maybe I’ll have to go head first.”