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Marlins Hot Stove: Free Agent Pitcher Heath Bell Signs 3-Year Contract With Marlins

Jayson Stark of ESPN has broken the first major signing for the new Miami Marlins franchise. It appears the Marlins have come to terms with free agent relief ace Heath Bell:

#Marlins agree to 3-year $27M deal w Heath Bell, pending physical. Expected to take physical tomorrow. More to come at 9 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

The deal, which is worth an average of $9M per year and has an option for a fourth year, should give the Marlins one of the most dominant closers in the game. In the 2011 season, Bell pitched 62 and 2/3 innings with the San Diego Padres, earning 43 saves, 31 shutdowns, and just 8 meltdowns.

Last year, the Marlins employed Leo Nunez, now (or always, in a way) Juan Oviedo, as their closer. In his 64+ innings as the 9th inning man, he managed 36 saves with a below average 4.06 ERA and 3.96 FIP.

Interestingly, Nunez had the same number of meltdowns as Bell while also managing two more shutdowns.

For more on the Marlins, check out SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.