Why the Miami Marlins Should Offer Heath Bell for Seattle's Chone Figgins

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer ISeptember 18, 2012

Jeff Curry – US PRESSWIRE / Otto Greule Jr. – Getty Images
Jeff Curry – US PRESSWIRE / Otto Greule Jr. – Getty Images

The Miami Marlins signed Heath Bell in the offseason as part of their expensive and aggressive push to win in their new stadium for 2012.

If anything has gone over worse than the dancing Marlins statue in center field, it has been Heath Bell's first year in Florida.

He has fallen in and out of the closer role, seeing his ERA balloon to 5.34 as of this writing. He gives up more than a hit an inning, and his WHIP is an amazing 1.610. He isn't walking many batters, but that seems to be because he is giving up so many hits.

He has blown seven of his 26 save opportunities and has been the very symbol of this disappointing season in South Florida.

And good news, Marlins fans! He is signed for the next two years.

It would probably be best for Bell to have a change of scenery. But how can the Marlins move him and his $18 million guaranteed?

Obviously, the first call would be to the Dodgers to see if they are willing to take on even more big bucks for rotten contracts.

Failing that, the Marlins need to find a partner who also wants to move a player needing a change.

The Vernon Wells and John Lackeys of the world make too much money. But the Marlins, the team at the furthest point Southeast in the major leagues, should look clear across the country to the Northwest and the Seattle Mariners.

They have Chone Figgins, whose time away from the Angels has also been a disappointment. Virtually all of his stats dropped in 2010, his first year in Seattle.

And that season was by far his best. His average has plummeted to sub .190. He has 22 extra base hits total in the past two seasons combined. And his walk total is falling like a rock as well.

He is owed $17 million over the next two seasons if he gets 600 plate appearances in 2013.

Here is the proposed deal: Have the Mariners pick up the option and send Figgins and $1 million to the Marlins for Heath Bell and a minor leaguer.

The Mariners would get a veteran pitcher entering a pitchers park. Bell would pitch alongside closer Tom Wilhelmsen and young relievers Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge, as their bullpen is strong enough to have a veteran in a smaller role.

The Mariners would also get a minor leaguer that would be the equivalent of getting a draft pick for Figgins had they let him go via free agency. Chances are they would never have offered Figgins arbitration, so the farmhand would be an extra bonus.

Meanwhile the Marlins would remove the tension of using Bell and would have the versatile Figgins on their roster.

Cut from the same speedy and hustling cloth as Ozzie Guillen, perhaps Figgins could be a useful tool for a National League team. He can come in as a pinch runner and fill in in the outfield and infield. Plus he would bring a veteran presence to the bench that goes with 35 career playoff games and a World Series title.

The trade may not work. Figgins might be buried on the bench in Miami, and Bell could be shelled in the American League.

But we already know the players are not working where they are currently playing now.

How bad could a change be for them? It's certainly worth traveling 3,355 miles to find out.