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Heath Bell is happy to be leaving Miami
       Saturday afternoon brought the first hot stove news of the year, as the Athletics, Marlins, and Diamondbacks completed a trade highlighting former All-Stars closer Heath Bell and outfielder Chris Young. The details of the trade are as follows: the Arizona Diamondbacks acquire Heath Bell, shortstop Cliff Pennington (from the A's) and $8,000,000 (from the Marlins); the Miami Marlins acquire minor league infielder Yordy Cabrera (from the A's); and the Oakland Athletics acquire outfielder Chris Young and $500,000 (both from the Diamondbacks).

            The trade finalized Bell's short and tumultuous tenure while in South Beach, only one year after signing a three year $27 million contract for the new look Marlins. He struggled mightily, including being replaced as closer, and completed the season with an unsightly 5.09 ERA and 8 blown saves (second most in league). Off the field, Bell had a complicated relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen, whom he openly criticized for not re-inserting him as closer. Ironically, before completing this trade for the disgruntled closer, the Diamondbacks exercised current closer JJ Putz's option for next year. All indications from the Diamondbacks front office is that Bell will be used as a set up man to Putz. However, which Bell are the Diamondbacks getting? The San Diego relief ace, who from 2009-2011 had a 2.36 ERA, 132 saves, and 9.6 K/9, or the pitcher who was a complete disaster in Miami? Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is banking that Bell's .340 BABIP and HR/FB rate to regress to his career norms, despite peripherals (declining BB and K rates, increasing line drive %) that say otherwise. At this point, Bell's most realistic prognostication would be as a solid middle reliever, one who just happens to be very overpaid. Personally, this would not be a trade I would consider making, given the Diamondbacks' current state, where that money could be redirecting to more dire needs (infield).

            As for the other big name involved, outfielder Chris Young is headed to Oakland after an injury plagued season in the desert. Young hit .231/.311/.434 this past season while battling shoulder and quadriceps injuries throughout the season. Young was part of the young, talented core of players that helped lead the Diamondbacks to a National League West Division title in 2011, but has seen his numbers steadily decline over the past several seasons. His OBP, HR, SLG, SB, and WAR are all heading in the wrong direction and the move to the less hitter-friendly Oakland Coliseum will further depress his offensive numbers. Additionally, Young is set to make $8.5 million in 2013 with an $11 million club option for 2014. This allows Beane to dump Young after one year if he does not perform, and if he does, Beane can retain him for a decent price. Also, it is not completely unfathomable for Young to return to his 2010 numbers (.257/.341/.452 with 27 HR and 91 RBI) considering he will be 29 and should have another 2-3 years in his prime. Yet, with current outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, and Seth Smith already slated for starting spots, it is puzzling to figure where Young fits in, if at all (perhaps another trade?). But then again, if anyone knows what he is doing, its "Moneyball" genius Billy Beane.

            Lastly, the prospect moving to Miami is 22 year old shortstop, Yordy Cabrera. The Lakeland, Florida native hit .232/.292/.332 while being old for his high-A competition. Cabrera was the 15th best prospect in the A's system according to Baseball America, with above average power potential (despite lackluster HR totals). Defensively, he has flashed occasional brilliance, but still struggles with routine plays and needs further development on his footwork and fundamentals. However, scouts believe his body will continue to grow and a move to third base is likely in the future. For now, he is likely headed to the Marlins high-A affiliate Jupiter to further refine his offensive and defensive skills.

First Impressions

Winners: Marlins, A's. Marlins dumped an unhappy reliever and freed up cash while the A's acquired a good outfielder without giving up much in return. Athletics could also ship Young to receive a player who better fits their needs.

Losers: Diamondbacks. Acquired a middle reliever with an unreasonable contract. Cliff Pennington offers decent middle infield depth, but probably should not be starting for any team, let alone one with playoff aspirations.


 


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