Three-Team Deal Lands Bell, Pennington In Phoenix

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The Deal
A three-team trade transacted during a travel day of the Cardinals-Giants National League Championship Series provided changes of scenery for three big league veterans coming off tough years and a fresh start for a struggling 2010 second-rounder.

The Diamondbacks acquired deposed Marlins closer Heath Bell (plus $8 million from Miami) and unseated Athletics shortstop Cliff Pennington; the Athletics acquired displaced center fielder Chris Young (plus $500,000) from the D-backs; and the Marlins received 21-year-old shortstop Yordy Cabrera, coming off a tough year in high Class A for the A's, and the salary relief associated with dealing Bell.
Marlins Acquire
Yordy Cabrera, ss
Age: 21. Born: Sep 3, 1990 in Lakeland, Fla.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 205.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Lakeland (Fla.) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Athletics in second round of 2010 draft; signed Aug. 16, 2010.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Stockton (CAL) HiA .232 60 220 26 51 9 2 3 21 16 68 2 .293 .332

Despite his second-round pedigree and $1.25 million bonus, Cabrera's positive attributes are obscured by his drawbacks at this point. He's physical with above-average raw power and plus arm strength, though his inconsistency at the plate and in the field have frustrated more than exhilarated to this point. He's a career .230/.297/.351 hitter who can punish mistakes, but he looks lost against pitchers who can locate and change speeds. An error-prone shortstop, Cabrera probably will wind up at third base down the line.
Athletics Acquire
Chris Young, cf
Age: 28. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Owed $8.5 million in 2013, then either $11 million (club option) or $1.5 million (buyout) for 2014.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.
Club (League) Year AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Arizona (NL) 2012 .231 101 325 36 75 24 0 14 41 36 79 8 .311 .434
3-Year Totals
.243 413 1476 219 359 95 3 61 203 190 363 58 .331 .436

Young hit .410/.500/.897 with five homers in April before he injured his shoulder while making a wall-crashing catch. He returned about a month later but the magic had worn off and he hit .206 and put up a .655 OPS the rest of the way (286 at-bats), losing time to rookie Adam Eaton in September. The defensive metrics agree that Young is a sterling defensive center fielder, though he may need to be platooned based on his career lefty/righty split. He has batted .271/.371/.489 versus lefties in 963 plate appearances, but righties have held him to a .718 OPS.
Diamondbacks Acquire
Heath Bell, rhp
Age: 34. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Owed $9 million in both 2013 and 2014; Marlins sent $8 million to partially cover salary and deferred $3 million signing bonus.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Miami (NL) 2012 4 5 5.09 73 0 19 64 70 38 36 5 29 59 1.55
3-Year Totals
13 10 3.12 204 0 109 196 177 75 68 10 78 196 1.30

Bell lost the closer's job in Miami and verbally sparred with manager Ozzie Guillen, so he probably doesn't regret being uprooted from a nice pitcher's park and moving to one in Phoenix that favors hitters. His strikeout rate recovered slightly in 2011, though his rates for walks (4.1 per nine innings) and hits allowed (9.9 per nine) skyrocketed, contributing to eight blown saves. Bell is reunites with D-backs general manager Kevin Towers, the man who pried him from the Mets prior to the 2007 season, allowing him to succeed Trevor Hoffman in San Diego and make three all-star teams as closer for the Padres.
Cliff Pennington, ss/2b
Age: 28. Bats: B. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2013-15 seasons ($490,000 salary in 2012).
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Oakland (AL) 2012 .215 125 418 50 90 18 2 6 28 35 90 15 .278 .311
3-Year Totals
.245 429 1441 171 353 70 12 20 132 127 290 58 .307 .352

After two and a half years on the job, Pennington lost his starting spot as Athletics shortstop in August, when Oakland traded for Stephen Drew. Pennington saved some face when he shifted to second base to replace the even-more-anemic production of sophomore Jemile Weeks. He's a steady glove man at either middle-infield position, a switch-hitter and successful basestealer with modest on-base skills.

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