In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, the Arizona Diamondbacks took part in a three-team trade that saw the them deal outfielder Chris Young to the Oakland Athletics for infielders Cliff Pennington and Yordy Cabrera. Cabrera was then almost immediately sent to the Miami Marlins for relief pitcher Heath Bell.
Bell, who signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Marlins last offseason, was viewed as a major disappointment following three consecutive All-Star appearances. After blowing his first seven save opportunities, Bell rotated between the Marlins setup man and closer throughout the season and finished with 19 saves and a 5.09 ERA in 73 appearances.
“Heath Bell has to be much better than he was in Florida,” ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo. “A lot of work has to happen there if he’s going to become a more effective pitcher. He’s got to lose some weight, he’s got to get his velocity back and that’s going to be hard to do.
The Diamondbacks will pick up $13 million of the remaining $21 million owed on the final two years of Bell’s contract to bolster a bullpen that includes J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Brad Ziegle.
Pennington, who played in 125 games for A’s in 2012, had 93 appearances at shortstop before being switched to second base in August. A switch-hitter, Pennington ended the season with a .215 batting average (90-for-418), six home runs and 28 runs batted in.
Kurkjian credited Pennington’s move to second base as a major factor in the A’s surprising success in 2012, as he was a major upgrade defensively over Jemile Weeks.
“He can really play both positions defensively and he even put the ball in play and hit it pretty hard the last month of the season,” said Kurkjian. “So, I think the Diamondbacks are getting a good little player in him and a versatile player who can help on both sides of the ball.”