Lee trade is a sign Marlins plan to contend

MILWAUKEE — Perhaps Marlins closer Heath Bell knew something was about to happen.

Before Wednesday’s 7-6 comeback win over the Brewers in 10 innings, Bell talked about the organization not willing to sell off parts. The closer, who saved his 18th game later that afternoon, gave some insights when it was yet revealed the Marlins were pulling off a trade for first baseman Carlos Lee.

“I don’t think we’re going to be sellers,” Bell said. “I think that’s the farthest thing possible, that we’re going to be sellers, unless it is a trade that is going to make our team better this year. I really don’t. I don’t even think they’re thinking of selling. I think they’re thinking of adding and trying to help the team.

“They also aren’t trying to hurt the team. They’re trying to find something that sparks us. Plain and simple, if we can just overcome those little things, that one pitch, that one error, the one strikeout, and we’re talking about being a couple of games over .500.”

The Marlins completed the Lee deal after Wednesday’s game, sending prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen to Houston.

Bell certainly knows the Marlins have ground to make up in the standings, but he is confident a second-half run can be made. Wednesday marked the 81st game by the club, which is exactly their half-way point in the season.

“I don’t think time is running out,” the closer said. “All these struggles we’ve had, if we can overcome these struggles, we’re going to be mentally stronger and physically stronger than the Washington Nationals, and the Mets and the Braves, who are ahead of us.

“Washington has not had the slip yet. And they may not. But the thing is, adversity. They haven’t really had adversity yet. When Strasburg and a couple of their pitchers get up to their pitch count, that’s going to be their adversity, if they don’t fall sooner.”

Bell added that the Braves dealt with adversity last year, and they’re quietly primed right now.

“And the Mets, they’re over-achieving,” he said. “Everybody didn’t realize they were going to be that good. They’re playing great baseball, but they haven’t had a streak where they’ve just been really down yet. Everybody in this game has had [a down] streak. The Yankees have. Texas even has had a streak where they’ve been pretty bad this year. So have most teams out there. The Dodgers, the Giants.

“So, if we can overcome this, I think we’re very capable of winning the division or even get that last Wild Card. It’s going to get more exciting. We definitely need to win.”

Joe Frisaro





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