By Matt Snyder
So you thought all that talk of the Marlins wining and dining players was just for show, huh? Well, the first domino has fallen. The newly-named Miami Marlins have signed All-Star closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract, sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com. The deal is pending a physical, which will happen Friday. There is a vesting option for a fourth year.
For good measure, Ozzie Guillen Jr., son of the Marlins new skipper, tweeted that he's celebrating the signing with his father. And now he's slightly backing off ... meaning Ozzie Sr. probably told him he shouldn't have tweeted it out. Fun times.
Bell, 34, has been an All-Star the past three seasons as the Padres closer. He had 43 saves in 48 chances with a 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 51 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings last season. He has 132 saves over the past three seasons, which is the most in baseball over that time span. The Marlins had an obvious hole at the back-end of their bullpen after Juan Oviedo revealed he'd been using a fake name (Leo Nunez) for years and was placed on the restricted list. There wasn't another ready-made closer left on the roster. And let's be frank, "Nunez" was a pretty lackluster closer anyway.
Maybe Jose Reyes is next? Hard to tell just yet, but the Marlins have accomplished at least one offseason goal: They now have a bona fide closer.
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