Texas Rangers' Trade Rumors: Top 5 Reasons They Should Acquire Heath Bell
Beltran would have been a nice piece, but it would have been addressing the wrong issue entirely. The Texas Rangers don't need another outfielder; they need bullpen help.
As the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline is now just a mere 48 hours away, the Texas Rangers need to pick up the best available reliever left on the market, Heath Bell, who they have been rumored to be close to acquiring.
Here are the top five reasons the Rangers need to grab Heath Bell.
Reason No. 5: Neftali Feliz's Inconsistencies
Last year's Rookie of the Year, Neftali Feliz, has all the makings of the next great closer. However, in his sophomore season (technically his third year in the bigs after a brief cup of coffee late in '09), he has been much less reliable than during his excellent rookie season.
Some of this may have to do with a drop in velocity. Feliz has hit 99 MPH on the gun on occasion this year but not nearly as regularly as last year.
He may also still be recovering from a mild shoulder issue which landed him on the disabled list earlier in the year.
Regardless, Feliz has been unable to establish a quality second pitch. A top-notch heater is always nice, but in the big leagues, eventually it will be hit and hit hard.
Feliz is going to be just fine in the future, but in a season that has already seen him blow five save opportunities, acquiring Heath Bell to steady a shaky bullpen would be ideal, especially down the stretch.
Reason No. 4: Bullpen Depth
The Rangers' bullpen has been a problem spot all season long. Much of this has to do with injuries to key role players from a year ago, such as Darren O'Day.
Relying on the recently departed Dave Bush, was also a key reason for the drop-off in bullpen productivity from a year ago.
And, of course, much like last year, when you lose a key piece of the bullpen (C.J. Wilson went from closer to staff ace last year) like Alexi Ogando and no one steps up to fill in the gap, your club will have issues.
Ogando, much like the aforementioned Wilson, has made a seemingly seamless transition from bullpen to rotation, and he and Wilson are the one-two punch in a very formidable starting rotation.
The Texas Rangers need another quality arm for the bullpen. If they can acquire Heath Bell, Neftali Feliz can either be moved to the eighth-inning setup role or remain closer.
Regardless, Bell would be an excellent addition to the Rangers bullpen and one that would add some much needed depth for the stretch run.
Reason No. 3: Gives Prospects Time to Mature
The addition of Heath Bell would take pressure off of the Rangers to call up bullpen help from their pitching-rich farm system.
If no trade is made, the Rangers' only shot at enriching their decrepit bullpen would be to call up such prospects as Martin Perez.
Perez, 20, would be a nice, left-handed addition to the bullpen, but it might be best for the Rangers' most coveted prospect to have a little bit more time to mature at Triple-A Round Rock.
Plus, the talented Venezuelan lefty's future is as a front-of-the-rotation starter, not as a reliever.
Reason No. 2: Bell Would Help the Rotation
The addition of Heath Bell would obviously bolster the Rangers' bullpen. His arrival would also provide a boost to the rotation as well.
Martin Perez, as mentioned in the previous slide, is the Rangers' top-flight prospect. Rather than being pressed into a reliever role, which is something he has never done, he could slide into the Rangers' rotation, should Derek Holland slide back into his occasional inconsistencies.
Regardless, with Heath Bell in the mix, it gives the Rangers a bevy of options. Not just in the bullpen but in the starting rotation as well.
Reason No. 1: Bell as the Missing Link
Heath Bell would fill the Rangers' largest glaring weakness, much like Cliff Lee did a year ago. The 2010 Rangers had a solid rotation but clearly lacked an ace. Lee was the man for that job.
This year, C.J. Wilson has taken his game to the next level and has become a certified ace. The Rangers' bullpen is the key area that must be addressed this season if they are to make a deep playoff run once again.
Heath Bell would be this year's Cliff Lee. The addition of the burly right-handed closer might just be the final missing piece to solve the puzzle of the 2011 Texas Rangers.
With Bell added to the bullpen, the Rangers would become a team that much closer to a return trip to the World Series.