Heath Bell’s Benefit In Announcing This Is What?

Is this meant to be a threat? Simple honesty? Someone who is bolstering his reputation as a loudmouth and flake?

Heath Bell came out and said that if the Padres offer him arbitration after the season, he’s going to take it rather than explore free agency—MLBTradeRumors.

The purpose of this is anyone’s guess. Is he trying to discourage them from offering it so he can secure a long-term contract from someone else without that club surrendering compensatory draft picks? Is he trying to make sure he gets through waivers in August? (He won’t.) Does he really want to stay in San Diego to the degree that he’d shun a 3-year contract elsewhere?

Why?

Along with his bizarre behavior in the All Star Game in which he sprinted in from the bullpen and slid into the grass near the mound, Bell’s decision to say this publicly enhances the reputation as a loudmouth he carted over from the Mets.

For years the Mets have been savaged for trading Bell with the implication that they never gave him a chance—Bell’s used this as fuel. It’s not true, but that’s neither here nor there; he didn’t get along with Rick Peterson and he didn’t pitch well. These are facts.

Much like his declining strikeout numbers, it’s taken out of context. A personality clash and poor performance resulted in the Mets making a bad trade of Bell. Trading Bell wasn’t the mistake; trading him for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins was.

What has to be examined when looking at Bell is his stuff, not his strikeout numbers. This is why pure stat examination will never fully replace the scouting eye and discernment of veteran baseball men. If Bell’s velocity and stuff are of the same quality as they were in previous years, there has to be another reason or reasons that he’s not accumulating strikeouts with the frequency he once did.

Bell would probably get a good contract somewhere as a free agent…unless teams look at those declining K numbers and off-the-wall statements and behaviors and decide they don’t want to deal with him.

Then what’s he going to do?

Blame the Mets? Rick Peterson is nowhere to be seen. Or heard.

But Bell apparently is. And he’s letting everyone know it.

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