Heath Bell was officially released by the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday morning, as the he’d been expected to. The team designated him for assignment a week ago after having a disappointing start to the season. With limited trade value, the team wasn’t expected to be able to move him instead.
Bell made just 13 appearances for the Rays, throwing 17.1 IP. Neither his 7.27 ERA or 1.846 WHIP were encouraging. He’d struck out 12, walked 8, and allowed 24 hits on the year.
The former All Star had been acquired by the Rays during the offseason as part of a three team trade. Tampa Bay sent a pair of minor leaguers to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the deal. Justin Choate’s season has yet to begin, as most Low-A leagues don’t begin their seasons until the summer. Todd Glaesmann retired shortly after the new year began. Tampa Bay also received catcher Ryan Hanigan in the same trade, the lone piece that’s been able to produce to date. Hanigan has hit .259/.344/.412 in 97 PA for the Rays.
At 36, most of Bell’s best years are likely behind him and he’s struggled heavily in recent seasons. He’ll only cost an acquiring team a pro-rated portion of the league minimum to sign for the rest of the season, but it remains to be seen just how much interest there may be.