Rays Designate Heath Bell For Assignment, Call Up Nate Karns

The Tampa Bay Rays took a chance that they could find the fix for Heath Bell‘s woes. That they could unlock the magic of his time as a closer with the San Diego Padres where he served as the teams closer from 2007-2011 and appeared in 354 games and registering 134 saves including leading the National League in 2009 with 42.

Heath-Bell-2014The Rays front office felt that they would get the Heath Bell that was closer to the 2007-2011 version and not the pitcher that struggled with the Miami Marlins in 2012 (5.09 ERA) and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013 (4.11 ERA).

They were confident in their ability to find the remedy. So much so that they acquired him as part of a three way deal between the Reds and Diamondbacks which resulted in the Rays assuming $5.5M of his 2014 salary.

The Rays weren’t able to find the fix and after 13 appearances have designated the former All-Star for assignment. .The Rays will have 10-days to work a trade with another organization before placing him on waivers. If they are unable to find a trade partner they will have to eat the remaining $5M or so on his contract.

Replacing Bell on the Rays roster will be Nate Karns who was acquired by the Rays from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Jose Lobaton minor leaguers Drew Vettleson and Felipe Rivero.

Karns has been inconsistent as a starter with the Rays Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls posting a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 8.20 over the span of six starts.

More than likely he is only here for Sunday afternoon’s contest against the New York Yankees to provide length out of the bullpen should Erik Bedard falter. After the off-day Monday the Rays should call up Brad Boxberger to take Karns spot in the bullpen.