Marlins sign free-agent closer Heath Bell

DALLAS – The Miami Marlins today announced they have signed right-handed closer Heath Bell to a three-year contract for the 2012-2014 seasons, with an option for 2015. The announcement was made by Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest.

Bell, 34, was 3-4, 2.44 with 43 saves for the Padres in 2011, his third straight season with 40-or-more saves. His 43 saves were tied for fourth-most in the NL and was the second-highest total of his career. Bell, who was named the Padres Pitcher of the Year by the San Diego chapter of the BBWAA, was also named to his third-consecutive NL All-Star team in 2011.

In 2010, Bell was named the MLB Delivery Man of the Year as the most outstanding relief pitcher after recording a career-high 47 saves, which was second in the Majors. He was also named the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year and Reliever of the Year by The Sporting News. Bell finished 2010 with a 6-1 record and a 1.93 ERA and from May 29, 2010 to May 3, 2011 he converted 41 straight save opportunities, including 34 straight to end the 2010 season.

Since becoming a full-time closer in 2009, Bell leads the Majors with 132 saves and is fourth with a 90.4 save percentage. For his Major League career, Bell has gone 28-24, 3.06 in 435 games. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the New York Mets in 1998 and was traded from the Mets to the Padres in a four-player deal following the 2006 season. 

Full statistics on Bell can be found at www.mlb.com. Additional information on the 2012 Marlins is available at www.marlins.com.