D-backs GM Towers: Heath Bell is a ‘nice guy to have’

Aug 28, 2013, 5:47 PM | Updated: 5:47 pm
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LISTEN: Kevin Towers, D-backs General Manager

Baltimore’s Jim Johnson, who leads all of baseball with nine blown saves, also has 40 successful saves on the season.

Right behind Johnson on the blown saves list is Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney, who has 30 saves to go along with eight blown chances.

In a tie for third place is Arizona’s Heath Bell, who has seven blown seven saves this year.

However, that does not mean D-backs GM Kevin Towers has soured on the 35-year-old pitcher, whom he calls “everybody’s whipping boy.”

“People like to beat up on Heath Bell but he’s a nice guy to have,” Towers told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Wednesday. “You can’t put a price on a guy that, each and every night, he’s going to take the ball.”

The D-backs, who traded for Bell in the offseason, owe the reliever $13 million for 2013 and 2014.

Bell has appeared in 60 games thus far in his first season with the D-backs. He has a 5-2 record to go along with a 3.81 ERA. He’s struck out 63 batters in 56.2 innings pitched while allowing 10 home runs.

The veteran has had stretches where he’s been downright dominant, but he’s also had times where he’s been really hittable. It’s averaged out some, and the way Towers sees it, Bell’s versatility and stamina make him as valuable as many other pitchers who may be having a bit more success.

“Is he the Heath Bell that he was when I had him in San Diego, probably not,” Towers stated. “But I still don’t think he’s quite as bad as everybody thinks he is and I’m glad we have him at times.”

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