Many believe that the Angels need to sign a dominant closer to address the perceived need of a closer. Proponents site Walden leading the team in blown saves, his inexperience and past Angels success largely relied on an elite bullpen. However, as the case of trusting the save completion percentage stat (cough, Fernando Rodney, cough), we should be wary how we view available relief pitchers. Don't let save totals in an era of fantasy baseball fool us.
Regarding Heath Bell:
1. He will be 34 years, 6 months come Opening Day. Relievers do not have good track record of elite production in their mid 30's.
2. 2011 saw a massive regression in his k/9 rate to 7.32. This was the lowest rate of his career. He produced a 11.1 ratio in 2010, 10.2 in 2009.
3. 2011 saw his line drive rate go up to 21.3% -- it was below 18% in 2009 and 2010.
4. Pitching in Petco, the NL and the NL West is not the same thing as pitching in the AL.
5. His swinging strike % regressed from greater than 10% in 2009, 2010 to 8.3% in 2011.
While Bell was clearly a successful closer in 2011, and his FB didn't lose velocity last year, there are signs of risk if the Angels think Bell would be a better option than Walden to close out games in 2012. Factoring in the opportunity cost using scare financial resources I would think it would be far wiser to target a Octavio Dotel (presuming he doesn't cost a draft pick) to face RH only or even Frank Francisco to shore up the pen.