Oh, Bell No!

by on June 2, 2011 · 3 comments

Rumor has it that the Cardinals have inquired about the Padres’ all-world closer, Heath Bell.  Why not?  What team wouldn’t want a guy with a sub 2 ERA, a WHIP hovering around 1, and who strikes out more than 9 batters every 9 innings?  Add that to fact that he’s blown just 1 save all season, and Fernando Salas just makes perfect sense as a closer.

Wait!  What?

Yep.  That stud closer with the 1.82 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, and 9.1 SO/9 is Salas and NOT Heath Bell.  That’s not to say that Bell isn’t doing just fine with his 1.96 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, and 7.0 SO/9, but he’s no Salas.  So, exactly why are the Cardinals inquiring about Bell and the pro-rated portion of his $7.5M 2011 salary?  I’m not sure, but I’m guessing that sound logic, reasoning, and common sense have nothing to do with it.  Oh sure, they could just be window shopping to find out with the asking price is, but they could have said so as well.  They didn’t, though.  I guess Ferd can hold off on that “Employee of the Month” plaque that he was probably expecting.  Shame.

Then again, Eduardo Sanchez is probably lucky to have a parking spot, and he’s holding down a 2.38 ERA with 11.1 SO/9.  There are plenty of pitchers to worry about before Sanchez and Salas.  Let the Tallets (ERA), Mottes (Strikeout rate), and Millers (WHIP) of the world step forward and be accountable.  On the other hand, we really are splitting hairs to some extent as well.  The Cardinals have played 31 road games versus 26 at home, and we’re mostly concerned with peripheral stats.  For the most part, the bullpen guys are working their way into and out of trouble.  It’s probably not sustainable, but it’s sure exciting while it lasts.

Sure, it would be interesting to put Bell at the end of a bullpen with guys like Salas, Eduardo Sanchez, Jason Motte, Ryan Franklin, and company ahead of him, but I’m not convinced that it’s necessary.  Besides, I’m not sure that it is worth the price they would pay for Bell, especially if that price includes Jon Jay or Allen Craig.  Given the circumstances, I would expect the Padres to ask for 1 of the 2 plus a pitching prospect.  No thanks.

TIDBIT:  The Colby Rasmus versus Jim Edmonds comparisons get tiresome quickly for me.  The more important comparison is Colby to Colby….as in 2009 Raz to 2011 Raz.  The 2009 version of Raz was good for a dWAR of 1.7, and he’s progressively gone downhill since then.  I want to know why, and my theory is that it has something to do with brain farts.  He simply makes mental errors while trying that are excusable, even though they negatively impact his team.  The ball he watched bounce off the wall is the only inexcusable play I’ve seen him make on defense in a while. 

MORE BITS OF TID:  I’m a huge fan of Tyler Greene‘s speed, but that’s about it.  No matter how fast he is, I still don’t care for the idea of him pinch hitting for Allen Craig (avg .337) or replacing Craig early enough in a game that he takes an at-bat away from Craig.  While Greene can play a decent SS, I don’t see him bringing much to the table offensively.  I’ve gone so far as to claim that Craig is the backup plan for Albert, and I believe he could hit 20 hr and drive in 90+, if he had the opportunity to play everyday (see Mang Overboard). 

Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more NOT Heath Bell moments!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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PH8 June 2, 2011

This post was a lot better before last night. 😉

While I agree with your premise, and agree that Salas should be the man for the job until he proves he cannot, this:

“…but he’s no Salas.”

is a bit disingenuous, no? Bell’s got a few years experience on Salas at getting the job done at the back end of games in the big leagues. He wouldn’t be so sought after if he wasn’t successful.

Like I said, I’m on board with Salas. Mostly because he’s played the part well, partly because I agree that the price for Bell (or any other proven shutdown reliever) should be prohibitive – but I doubt Bell is quite looking up to Ferd yet.


Since my previous WAR Graph seems to have offended, perhaps you’d prefer this one? 🙂

WAR Graph Thursday

Dennis June 2, 2011

Disingenuous? Maybe. Maybe not. Salas has had fewer save opportunities, and he certainly doesn’t get the benefit from as many close calls as Bell does, but I’ll take his 1.1 WAR over Bell’s 0.8 WAR at their respective prices any day of the week. I guess it’s a matter of perspective in this case. If the Cardinals suddenly made Salas available, he’d probably be just as attractive as an acquisition target to some teams as Bell. In some cases, he might be an even more attractive option, because more teams could afford him. In that sense, Bell would be looking up to Ferd.

I didn’t mind your most recent WAR Graph a bit. I just think that there are limitations to what statistics can possible represent. I also wonder whether or not Raz can play consistently decent enough defense to keep it from being a drag on his offensive numbers. For pure entertainment value, I’d rather watch Jay, because he plays better fundamental baseball in my opinion. Over the long term, I still would like to think that Raz will be the next great CF, though.

PH8 June 2, 2011

Sometimes I wonder if Colby’s instincts on getting jumps on batted balls is stunted somewhat with how he’s positioned.

If the manager is over-compensating for what he thinks are bad jumps or bad routes to the ball, I can certainly see a situation where that might mess with Rasmus’ head a bit rather than just letting his instincts take over and get to the ball.

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