Has there ever been worse news than the story that the Phillies are the leading candidates to trade for RP Heath Bell. There has to be something that Ruben Amaro Jr. knows that no one else knows.
That's the only reason I can think of as to why the Phillies would be talking about acquiring the Padres reliever.
In my last piece, I told you what I wanted the Phillies to do at the trade deadline.
Doing nothing major is my preferred option. However, on the list of moves to make, Heath Bell would not be on the list at all.
This is not a knock on Bell. I actually think Bell is a quality reliever and a solid closer. Many teams would be lucky to have him. Unfortunately, the Phillies are not one of them.
The fact of the matter is the Phillies have no need for Bell. The Phillies bullpen has been solid all season, especially the back end of the pen. Ryan Madson has excelled this year as the closer, and youngsters Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stuttes have been magnificent in front of him.
The Phillies also have Brad Lidge back and he threw a scoreless inning Monday. Lidge has tremendous upside and if he returns to form, the Phillies have four incredibly good relievers. Even if Lidge is inconsistent, that still gives the Phillies three stellar options in the back of the bullpen.
I have not even mentioned Jose Contreras who is a solid reliever and may be back at some point this year.
So where does Heath Bell fit? He isn't a lefty specialist, actually, he is not a lefty at all. He clearly is not a middle reliever. So where do you pitch him?
The logical place is the closer role, but the combination of Madson and Bastardo have hardly blown a save all season. Why mess with success?
So then you are giving up some solid prospects for a guy to pitch in the eighth inning. Stuttes, Madson, Bastardo pretty much have the last two innings under control. So again, where does Bell fit?
The seventh inning? The sixth inning? Where will Bell pitch?
With the Phillies great starting pitchers, there is no need to worry about the middle innings. In most instances, the starters will pitch seven innings. Sometimes they even go the whole game or eight innings.
So the question remains, where would Heath Bell fit in the Phillies bullpen? The correct answer seems to be no where.
So why are the Phillies pursuing him? Why are they the "front runners" to land Bell? The answer seems to be a mystery.
The Phillies should not be considered any late inning bullpen pitchers. The only pitching move that would make any sense would be for a lefty specialist because they only have Bastardo and it would be nice to have a second lefty. Plus, the Phillies could get a lefty out of the pen fairly cheap.
Heath Bell makes no sense at all for this team and I hope the Phillies don't trade anything for him. Although it took me a long time to do it, I finally figured out where Heath Bell fits. He fits perfectly in another team's uniform.