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Ozzie, Fish to finally form a ninth inning committee

Andy Behrens
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Ozzie Guillen, flummoxed (US Presswire)

Heath Bell, as everyone knows, has had an abysmal first half. Startlingly bad. Most of us expected Bell's numbers to suffer away from Petco, but...well, wow.

We went over the ugliest details in Tuesday's Closer Report, but here they are again: Bell has appeared in 40 games so far, and he's allowed multiple runs in 10 of them. He's issued 20 walks in 34.2 innings, he's blown six save chances, and his WHIP is 1.82. Opposing batters are hitting .307 against him.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been unusually patient with Bell — perhaps because the 34-year-old reliever is in the first season of a three-year, $27 million deal — but it sounds like he's finally seen enough.

This from MLB.com's Joe Frisaro:

On his weekly radio segment on "The Dan LeBatard Show" on 790 The Ticket, Guillen said he plans to talk with Heath Bell in the next few days, and that the team will start off closing by committee.

[...]

"I have to make a decision, and if I have to make a solution that will be drastic, I will do it," Guillen said after Sunday's game. "We're going to wait until after the All-Star break, and I'm going to pick whoever is better out there to close the game. That's the bottom line. If you can't do the job, we'll find somebody else to do the job."

The priority pick-ups here should be Steve Cishek and the soon-to-be-reinstated Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly "Leo Nunez.") Cishek figures to get the first shot to head this committee; Oviedo won't return from suspension until July 23 and Edward Mujica is currently on the DL (broken toe, may return on Sunday). In his six appearances this month, Cishek has been outstanding: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 4 HD. His career K/9 is 8.78 and his WHIP is 1.19. He has the stuff required to close.

But let's recall that Guillen recently suggested Oviedo could see ninth inning work, assuming Juan Carlos is still able to throw like he did when he was that other dude. And left-handed specialist Randy Choate could see a save opportunity at some point, depending on match-ups. Committees, in case you didn't know, aren't much fun.

Cishek is available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues at the moment, and Oviedo is unowned in 93 percent. It's time to make the move, if you have a need.

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