Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 12/2/11

Former Padres closer agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract with the Miami Marlins (still feels weird to type that) yesterday, taking yet another top closer off the market. The deal reportedly has a vesting option for a fourth year. 

It's a slightly perplexing destination for Bell. Yes, the Marlins are getting more aggressive in free agency (and appear to be the only other suitor than the Mets for Jose Reyes). But still, are they close enough to a championship to be spending $9 million a year on a guy who will throw 70 innings?

Further, Bell was expected to stay on the west coast, having said he wanted to stay in San Diego if possible. The Red Sox, for what it's worth, check in on him anyway:

According a major league source, the Red Sox did show interest in closer Heath Bell, engaging in conversations with the reliever's representatives prior to Bell's reported agreement with the Miami Marlins.

The 34-year-old Bell, who is close friends with Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, has agreed to a three-year deal with the Marlins that would be worth $9 million per season with a vesting option for a fourth year. It is being reported that Bell will be in Miami to take his physical Friday.

According to the source, the Red Sox weren't prepared to match Miami's commitment to Bell partly due to concerns over a perceived dip in stuff -- his strikeout rate per nine innings dropped from 11.1 in 2010 to 7.3 in '11 -- and the fact the reliever's success has come while pitching home games in pitching-friendly Petco Park. (It should be noted that, according to Fangraphs.com, despite the drop in strikeout rate Bell's fastball velocity has remained relatively the same over the past four seasons.)

So Bell followed the money, as everyone always does, and that's fine. I'm glad we checked in on him just out of due diligence -- but I'm also glad we didn't get him. The more lucrative closer contracts are given, the more desirable Daniel Bard is as the closer option.

Besides, if we're so focused on getting Sox' friends, we can always trade for Andre Ethier.

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