The Miami Marlins entered Monday 21 games under .500, 27 games out of first place and in last place in the National League East. A season that began with promise is limping towards the finish line. Injuries, trades and distractions have decimated their high hopes. And now they have a closer controversy.
Rather, an ex-closer controversy.
Deposed closer Heath Bell, signed to a three-year, $27 million deal before the season, opened up about colorful and controversial manager Ozzie Guillen during a Monday radio appearance in Miami.
“It's hard to respect a guy that doesn't tell you the truth or doesn't tell you face-to-face,” Bell said. “There's probably reasons why.
“I stunk in April, plain and simple. I said I stunk, I worked hard, I busted my butt. I think I've had a tremendous second half. I'm not closing—I know that. But I just kept my mouth shut because I want to regain what I had, and I feel like I can't do that.”
After a first half during which he was 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA and seven blown saves, being removed from the closer role in the process, Bell has rebounded. He's 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 26 innings during the second half of the season and is 1-0 with a 2.70 over the last 28 days (10 innings). But he has yet to regain the ninth inning mantle.
As seen on several occasions on the Showtime behind-the-scenes look at the Marlins, “The Franchise,” Guillen and Bell have never had the fuzziest relationship. And Bell said the Ozzie that Showtime viewers watched is the real thing.
“It's just one of those things that—what you see is what you get,” he said. “I'm not going to be two-faced. I'm not going to sneak around your back and say this and that.”