Padres Could Put Bell Back On Trade Market

The Padres' late-season collapse has no doubt been tough to take for San Diego fans, but it could get even tougher when and if the Friars revert to their cost-effective ways.  San Diego's unexpected playoff push extended Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell's stays with the club, and while the Padres have no ready answer to replace Gonzalez at first base, their deep bullpen may lead to Bell's departure.

ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that San Diego "will at least consider" dealing Bell and installing Mike Adams as the closer going into 2011.  Bell agreed to a one-year, $4MM deal last winter to avoid arbitration, but Olney predicts that Bell could earn in the range of $6-$8MM next year, when he hits arbitration for the final time.  The Padres have the payroll space to pay Bell that much if they wanted to (as Cot's Baseball Contracts notes, the Friars have a measly $1.1MM committed to players for next season), but that type of outlay on a closer is a luxury that small-market teams usually can't afford.

Adams, meanwhile, made $1MM this season and is entering his second arbitration year.  After posting a 1.84 ERA, a 10.2 K/9 rate and a 3.78 K/BB ratio over his three years in San Diego, Adams is sure to earn a nice raise, but it will still fall below Bell's $4MM earnings from this season.  If the Pads were to offer Adams a two-year contract worth $5.5MM, Adams would probably accept to gain a bit of security in case he struggles finishing games.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently looked at how Adams' contract situation compared to that of Oakland's Michael Wuertz.

Bell is no stranger to the trade market.  His name popped up in multiple rumors when Joe Nathan was injured last spring and was even whispered to be on the block at the July trade deadline when San Diego was in first place.  If the Padres shop him around again this winter, the White Sox, Diamondbacks, Angels and Rays are a few of the clubs who could be looking for a proven closer.  The Braves and Cardinals could also be added to that list if Billy Wagner and Ryan Franklin both retire.

40 Responses to Padres Could Put Bell Back On Trade Market Leave a Reply

  1. LioneeR 5 years ago

    Actually, the Braves will not have to spend 6-8 million on a closer. They have Venters and Kimbrel making 400k. They might want an experienced arm, but it won’t be for the closer position.

  2. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Am I the only one who thinks Heath Bell would be a good fit on the Marlins? Perhaps Ozzie Martinez and Edgar Olmos could get it done.

    • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

      You think the Jays could swindle for Bell? A back-end-of-the-bullpen of Bell closing and Gregg setting up would be beastly. It shouldn’t take as much to acquire him as some people think – closers are overrated in terms of value [Dodgers trading for Sherrill kinda proves that].

      Montero > Bell, even with Montero being just a DH/1B candidate.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Yeah, montero shouldn’t even be in discussion for heath bell.

        I kind of like the idea of Bell on the Jays, but only if the Jays weren’t giving up any prospects in return. For example, maybe the Padres were interested in Aaron Hill.

  3. Yankees10 5 years ago

    Mike Adams? Why not Luke Gregerson

  4. Ryan Franklin possibly retiring? First I’ve heard of it…

  5. Why would Tampa pay Bell the sort of money he gets/would get in San Diego instead of keeping Soriano with them, for about the same price?
    AND why would Bell want to play for a team with no fans in a tough division if he could easily choose an “easyer” destination?
    Ok, guys: Tampa will be one closer short for next season, but to base Bell’s possibly moving there in just that is pretty lame

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      Getting Bell will be shorter commitment than having to pay big money and long contract to Soriano. And I think Bell will be a tad bit cheaper.

  6. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    I hate that the Padres might trade Heath Bell. He grew up to be a closer right on their mound. Mike Adams is a terrific pitcher and I have no doubt that he could step right in-but there’s that injury thing with him. The Pads are well positioned to trade one or two of their pen arms. Irony of ironies, Bell would be a perfect fit for Kevin Towers new team. I don’t know how the Padres feel about trading within the division.

    • azdsnd 5 years ago

      I was going to say this as well. Kevin Towers will be closely monitoring the Heath Bell trade market.

      That said, relief pitchers mid-arb shouldn’t fetch much in return, so if the Pads think they’re getting any sort of legitimate prospect return, they’re kidding themselves. Bell is worth 2-2.5 WAR on FanGraphs with the help of a deflated HR/FB from Petco that he won’t get at Chase, making him more of a 1-1.5 WAR pitcher. Unfortunately, he’d be making $6-8MM or so, so there’s not surplus value there worth trading for.

      • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

        You know there may not be surplus value in a trade for Heath Bell for the Pads. But with the state of the D’Backs bullpen, there surely is psychological value for a pen that was beat almost daily by the other team. They may be willing to pay a premium for that. Knowing Towers, they probably won’t. He knows how to get usable arms for a pen-he did it for years. On the cheap too.

      • Why then does Heath Bell have a better ERA on the road this season? He gave up no home runs on the road. Your argument is what is deflated. Heath Bell is worth $7-9 million/season. He wont get that long term from the Padres, but they could get more than a crappy prospect for him.

        • azdsnd 5 years ago

          Thanks for making my point for me, I suppose? Perhaps it wasn’t *only* Petco helping him, I guess I’m willing to concede that he also got ridiculously lucky on HR/FB rates at road ballparks too, which further artificially lowered his ERA. This only further demonstrates that he’s not a sub-2 ERA pitcher going forward on another team.

          Nobody posts HR/FB rates below 2% without the help of luck and/or a favorable home ballpark. League average is around 8%, and that’s what his rate would be if he were out of Petco and not the recipient of such absurd luck. Which, as already mentioned, would make him a 1-1.5 WAR pitcher and not worth $6-8MM.

  7. baseballz 5 years ago

    Yah Span, I saw, and here’s me hoping that the Jays wisen up and trade him to the Braves next year for Teheren. Hey if you can dream about locking up AGon then i can dream about the Jays trading Bautista for some awesome young pitcher, but way to go Jose !

    • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

      I kept thinking that Bautista would wind down with pitchers pitching him completely different, and that his ISO and OPS have spiked considerably, but he’s still going. I don’t think he’s a consistant 50-home run hitter, especially with it coming out of nowhere, but 30-35 should be obtainable with a mild decrease in his OPS. .950 is more realistic to expect in 2011 should he remain with the Jays because of his walk ratio.

      Can’t wait for to measure out that grand slam.

    • 42214221 5 years ago

      Bell & LeBlanc 4 Bautista

  8. wwy 5 years ago

    “The Braves and Cardinals could also be added to that list if Billy Wagner and Ryan Franklin both retire.”

    Franklin has mentioned retiring after 2011, but not after this season. So I would not add the Cardinals to the list.

    • Redbirds16 5 years ago

      I would, the Cards could really use a lights out closer like Bell, depending on the price he commands. Although a closer isn’t up on the list of things to do, it couldn’t hurt to kick the tires.

  9. BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

    What is meant by “revert to their cost-effective ways?” How much did they spend on payroll this year, $40 million? Lots of fans around the leagues would have been delighted to have gotten as much out of twice the Padres’ payroll.

  10. cookmeister 5 years ago

    Tony Reagins, please do something useful and get this guy.

    • ze3 5 years ago

      Thank you for saying that. I hope he listens.

      • cookmeister 5 years ago

        it would be such a big pickup. He would definately bring some life to the team, plus he is a hometown kid (went to school down the street)

  11. hey, fans if you want Bell in your team, any team, make a good offer o.k. we listen.

  12. RahZid 5 years ago

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Sox make a push for Bell. Theo has said he’s looking to overhaul the pen (and rightfully so). What about an Ellsbury/Bell type of deal? Ells has fallen out of favor in Boston and they have a capable replacement in Kalish, but his speed/defense would play well at Petco.

    • The Padres have plenty of speed and glove in the outfield. The padres need an RBI machine

  13. Beersy 5 years ago

    The Padres should deal both Bell and Gonzalez this off season. I am a Padre fan and I am disgusted by the attendence in San Diego this year. Why should Moorad spend big money on Bell and Gonzalez, or other players for that matter, when no one shows up any way. Every teams fans that doesn’t draw well blames it on the product on the field, well until this late season collapse the Padres were in 1st all year and still couldn’t fill Petco.

  14. Mario Saavedra 5 years ago

    Again posting stuff out of mere speculation. At least have a more reliable source that your “hunch”. With that being said, I’m very sad as well for the attendance in SD I am a Padre fan, and If I lived near SD, I would have been there once per week minimum.

  15. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Please tell me your joking. If you aren’t, why not keep Montero behind the plate and try to lock up A-Gon?

  16. Tko11 5 years ago

    Mariano Rivera is still there

  17. Yankees have enough bullpen depth between Robertson, Logan, Chamberlain even IF Rivera weakens/retires. Plus, there’s plenty of pitching talent waiting in the rings for the Yankees (Ring, Brackman, Albaladejo despite his poor numbers this year), even Ivan Nova. While the Yankees might be pitching-weak, they do NOT need a closer.

  18. azdsnd 5 years ago

    Remember that one time that Jesus Montero was a bajillion times more valuable than Heath Bell? Relievers mid-arb do not fetch elite-level prospects in return from even mildly-competent GMs, which Brian Cashman is.

  19. Locking up Adrian is a dream that left San Diego a long time ago.

  20. Sniderlover 5 years ago

    Most think Montero doesn’t have good enough defense behind the plate and he could probably get away with something like that if he stays on the Yankees because they usually have good pitchers but with Padres, who knows if they will be able to afford their pitchers down the line.

  21. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Did you just see what Bautista just did!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Not really. He is still under contract and they could still get a deal done.

  23. They really couldn’t.

  24. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    20 dollar bet?

  25. azdsnd 5 years ago

    On further review, that’s a laughable offer. Bell has just one year of arbitration left, and will be paid $6-8MM, more than what his WAR value will be once he leaves Petco Park’s magical HR/FB-deflating powers (xFIP of around 3, should be worth around 1-1.5 WAR, or $4-6MM).

    You don’t trade six cost-controlled year of Jesus Montero, a stud prospect, for one year of no- or negative-surplus value on your dollar from Heath Bell. As a matter of fact, you don’t trade much of anything for that one year of Heath Bell. You offer the Pads a fringey, flier prospect in the low minors and if they don’t take it you walk away.

  26. inkstainedscribe 5 years ago

    Sure. AGon would soak up 20-25% of the Pads’ payroll. The Pads may be dumb enough to commit that much of its payroll to one player and all but guarantee that they’ll be a 75 win team until the 2020s, but I doubt it.

  27. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Adrian Gonzalez is one of the best players in Baseball. They could still win with A-Gon under contract.

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