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Diamondbacks acquire closer Bell from Miami, IF Pennington from Oakland

The SportsXchange

The Arizona Diamondbacks were rather busy Saturday, acquiring two new players and re-signing a third in just a few hours' time.

First, the D-backs exercised a $6.5 million option to keep closer J.J. Putz on the team for the 2013 season. Putz saved 32 games in 37 opportunities this season with a 2.82 ERA.

After a slow start in which Putz had ERAs of 4.70 and 7.71 in April and May, he turned the corner in June with a 2.25 ERA and did not allow a run in July or August.

Then, a few hours later after exercising the option on Putz, Arizona acquired veteran reliever Heath Bell in a trade with the Miami Marlins, as well as infielder Cliff Pennington from Oakland.

Bell, 35, has been one of the most prolific save specialists in the majors the last four seasons, averaging 37.75 saves in each of those seasons for a total of 151 over that time period. Bell signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Marlins prior to last season, but lost his closer's job in July, ending the season with a definite atypical mark of 19 saves in 27 chances and a 5.09 ERA in 73 game appearances in 2012.

The Marlins are looking to rebuild and apparently felt at his age, Bell and his high-dollar contract were expendable.

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, acquire a hard-throwing righthander that could serve as the first part of a 1-2 punch, with Putz being the closer. But at the same time, because Bell has been a closer most of his career, he has the versatility to be both a set-up man and closer, if needed.

Arizona acquired infielder Pennington and minor league infielder Yordy Cabrera from Oakland for outfielder Chris Young. Shortly afterward, the D-backs sent Cabrera to the Marlins to acquire Bell, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash.

Young had become expendable after spending the last six seasons in center field for Arizona, given the team's plans to likely have rookie Adam Eaton play center and be Arizona's leadoff hitter next season. Young, 29, injured his right shoulder early in the season after crashing into a wall, and then found himself riding the bench for the better part of the last month of the season due to a quadriceps injury.

Pennington, meanwhile, is 28 and played in 125 games for Oakland last season, including 93 appearances at shortstop before being moved to second base in late August. He hit a paltry .215 with just 28 RBIs, something the D-backs hope will improve now that he's in the National League.
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