Discussion: Will Padres Give Bell A Multiyear Deal?

Earlier this week, Padres closer Heath Bell told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he hopes to remain with the club well beyond 2011.  Bell, who earned $4MM in 2010 after avoiding arbitration, even went so far as to say that a new multiyear deal in San Diego would be his "dream".  However, GM Jed Hoyer was non-committal when asked about Bell's future with the team.

"I'm sure a discussion of a multiyear contract for Heath will come up," Hoyer said. "[Bell's agent] and I have a good working relationship. We've touched on the subject although it's early."

Despite a great deal of speculation to the contrary, the Friars chose not to deal the 33-year-old after sending Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox.  The Padres are willing to fork over between $6-7MM in arbitration to Bell this winter but Center writes that a three-year deal would easily top $20MM.  It's hard to argue that the right-hander isn't worth the money after turning in a 1.93 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 67 games.

Right now the club is more or less done making moves for 2011 and their payroll sits at just over $40MM.  A multiyear deal for Bell would swallow up a significant portion of their budget.  Does it make sense for the Padres to give Bell that sort of contract when considering their limited funds?

47 Responses to Discussion: Will Padres Give Bell A Multiyear Deal? Leave a Reply

  1. bas_in_denmark 4 years ago

    This would be a terrible move for the Frairs. They should rather trade him and spend the money on the draft and international free agents. I don’t think San Diego is a .500 team this year so they have no need for an elite closer. Even if they were in contention I think it would be stupid for a small market team to spend that much money on a closer.

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      Agree that giving Bell a multi-year deal is the wisest move. The team’s lack of financial committments and whose main core is young on service time (cheap), they could afford to pay him 7m/yr on a 3-year deal if they so desired, but doubt they will go that route.

      The trade market for closers in years past has been pretty stagnant. The Padres best use from Bell will be another season of a top-notch bullpen arm (think they’ll have mlb’s best again) and collecting the picks for the likely type-A free agent after next season.

      Saying you don’t think they Padres will be a .500 club is fine and dandy, but don’t be suprised if they are that or more. Under-rated rotation in ’11 with a beast of a pen, good start to winning more games then you lose. If you can out pitch your opponent consistently, it’s rather easy to win. Latos/Richard/Harang/Stauffer/Luebke is easily the best rotation in baseball for their cost (less then 7m combined), but besides from being cheap, they’re all pretty damn good. Check out the production they got last year from 2b/ss/lf/cf and see how the changes this off-season compare. Wouldn’t be suprised one iota if the gap between ’10 and ’11 at 2b or lf or cf is similar to the one at 1b going from Gonzalez to Hawpe.

      • disgruntledreader 4 years ago

        The rotation that the Rays are putting out there costs almost exactly the same and is noticeably better…

        • Dylan Ramirez 4 years ago

          You are obviously severely under rating Stauffer that guy is going to turn some heads next year. I don’t know where the velocity came from last year, but after the injuries he had to learn how to become a finesse pitcher now that his velocity is back he’s on his way to become the elite pitcher he was supposed to be.

          • disgruntledreader 4 years ago

            I like Stauffer more than the average Padre fan and did before last season as well. However, the Rays are truly five deep in their rotation with a fallback sixth in Sonnanstine and all of their guys are pretty good bets to go more than 175 innings this year (even if they’re conservative with Hellickson). The Padres have no clue who their fifth starter is today, are probably looking at Dustin Moseley as their #6, and are really really hoping Aaron Harang can find a way to keep his back healthy.
            Even if you’re a huge Stauffer fan, it’s certainly not “easily” better than Tampa’s rotation, which was what Willy said…

          • disgruntledreader 4 years ago

            And btw – Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden and Brandon McCarthy cost about $2.5M less than the Padres’ rotation and are at least pretty comparable…

          • Amish_willy 4 years ago

            The Rays/A’s/Padres collectively represent the three cheapest and most talented rotations out there. The Rays depth is insane, and I’m thrilled that the team is in the AL East. They’re going to give those big market teams hell for a long long time.

            Ha ha, um yeah I would take the Rays arms over our own without much thought. Doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled to have what we do. The Padres staff as a whole might be more well rounded when you consider the Rays lost most if not all of their best relievers to free agency. It’d be like losing Bell & Adams and then some all at the same time.

            Speaking of the Rays, I watched Wade Davis pitch a couple of times last season, and he’s pretty darn good. Before the season though he was more heralded then Latos, and now he doesn’t even seem in the same class.

            Stauffer’s oppenents line last year: .219/.282/.310 – he’s definitely not as shiny as a Jeremy Hellickson, but could easily be more valuable next year.

        • Amish_willy 4 years ago

          To even be in the same conversation as the Rays in regards to young/cheap pitching talent (Pads cheap pen closes the gap rather nicely) is a thing of beauty considering where they were at the begining of 2008. The Padres 5 starters will cost a few 100k more then Shields & Price, so yeah, they will be cheaper, but your probably talking the two cheapest rotations in the game.

          Agree with Dylan regarding Stauffer, his stuff improved, which considering he was getting further away from shoulder surgery and being 100% healthy (arm wise) isn’t surprising at all. A guy with a legit 93mph fastball with great control, plenty of off-speed stuff with same great control, while being a groundball pitcher in a park that will kill most of the few flyball’s that are well struck… makes for a good recipe. If anyone that plays fantasy baseball, he should make for an excellent value play.

          I think it’s going to be a real dog fight in who is the teams 2nd best starter next year between he, Richard, Harang and Luebke. Stay tuned…

          As far as your point below about the Padres having “no clue who their 5th starter is” — to summice, the only way it’s not Luebke is if they decide they want to keep him under control a season longer and let him start the year at AAA (2 mo.s = extra year). Leblanc is the 6th starter with Moseley being the 7th/emergency start type who will get his work almost entirely in the pen unless numerous injuries occur. Hefner is knocking on the door and with FIP’s consitently in the low 3.00’s, he’ll be an option as well. His ceiling could very well be like that of fellow starters Stauffer/Luebke. Castro enters the year probably 9th on the go-to list, since he’s a guy they won’t rush due to the lack of need.

          • disgruntledreader 4 years ago

            I don’t disagree that it’s a good thing to be in the same conversation with the Rays (and Oakland). But that’s a far cry from “easily the best rotation in baseball for their cost.”

  2. He would be trying to get at least a 3 year/30 Mil contract which just isn’t in SD’s budget. He’ll be traded at the deadline to the Yankees because Mo will be gone after this year.

    • j6takish 4 years ago

      He signed a 2 year deal

    • churumba 4 years ago

      Not in the budget? It says they are at a paltry $40million right now?

      • “..and their payroll sits at just over $40MM.”

        Their entire payroll for 25 guys is 40MM.

    • Actually, from everything we are seeing Bell is asking for 3 years and around $20 million. A San Diego discount to be sure.

      With the Padres signing Hudson & Bartlett to 2 year deals with an option or vesting year, you should EXPECT the Padres to do the same with Bell.

  3. start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    I just think it would make a lot more sense if the Pads dealt him at the deadline to whoever desperately needs a reliever.

  4. jb226 4 years ago

    A good closer is important to a winning team, don’t get me wrong — but it doesn’t have much value to a losing team, and it’s not something you build your club around.

    The Padres had, what, one person under contract this winter? They are literally building their team almost from scratch each year. A Bell extension would make him one of the few players (almost) guaranteed to be there next year. Making those moves with a closer first? Ehh.

    Teams are built first with good starting pitching and then with some young stud hitters. I think it makes much more sense to start locking some of their starters up who they feel can contribute to that sort of winning way, and then look to bring in or develop the hitters. Part of the reason the Padres have trouble getting free agents coming off strong years is certainly money, it’s certainly the park (for hitters), it’s certainly the club — but equally certainly it’s because nobody can envision what the team will be. The Pads almost won a spot in the playoffs last year. Who are they this year? Different second baseman, different shortstop, different starting catcher, different first baseman, different center fielder, at least two spots in the bullpen different, at least two in the rotation, it looks like both Hairstons are probably gone… that’s an incredible amount of uncertainty for any team, much less one who missed the playoffs by such a thing margin.

    Get some pitchers under contract. Find some hitters worth getting under contract. And get the damn owner to open up his wallet a bit; if they get back to the $70MM payroll range instead of the $40MM, I don’t see any reason they can’t be strongly competitive in that division. Reports are that the Padres are receiving between $35MM and $40MM per year in revenue sharing. If they’re not capable of spending $70MM on their major-league club with that kind of money coming in, then as much as I hate to say this about ANY franchise and as much as I sympathize with all the lives that will be ruined, it’s probably time to start talking contraction.

    • Dylan Ramirez 4 years ago

      Padres rotation is under team control for quite some time.

      Mat Latos FA 2016
      Stauffer FA 2014
      Richard FA 2015
      Luebke FA 2017?

      Then you have their top two prospects in Castro and Kellly in the minors and they shouldn’t have trouble bringing in a veteran looking to rebuild value after a down year if need be.

      If Bell is willing to take 3 years around 20 million like the article suggests I don’t see why you wouldn’t do this deal. You can always still trade him if you don’t contend. You have Bartlett and Ludwick coming off the books next year and hopefully Blanks and Cabby or Cumberland can replace those guys.

      • Beersy 4 years ago

        I completely agree with you. Along with Castro and Kelly, the Padres also have Sampson coming up, hopefully his injury late last year wasn’t serious, as well as Lollis and Portillo. This team needs to built around pitching and hopefully just a couple of these guys work out.

        As for Bell, trading him at the deadline, extension or not, would be the best option for them. He will bring back a very good prospect, just look at what the Nats got for Capps. When dealt they still have Adams, Gregerson, or Frieri to step in, with Brach and Scribner still on the farm.

      • Amish_willy 4 years ago

        Affording Bell with their current group of players wouldn’t be a problem at all. Maybe he takes 3/20, if he loves pitching for the Padres so much, and there’s good reason for that being the case then maybe he does. Huston Street signed for 3/25m at the same time, while Bell was coming off a more successful run. That would be the figure I’d say they could probably count on him signing for.

        3/20m is risky in that any long-term deal is risky for a pitcher, especially one on the Padres books. Never know when the injury bug will hit. 2/14m with a 7-8m mutual option would work better for the club in limiting some of that risk. I’m all for Bell hitting the free agent market and getting the biggest deal possible. If he’s willing to take a two-year guarantee, that changes things.

        I like the idea about approaching Mike Adams with a two year + option deal this off-season or next (at a little more money) and making him the closer. Gregerson and Frieri make a very nice set-up duo. Adams probably takes 6m guaranteed for these next two years with the option being worth around 4m. Turn him into your closer sometime in the next year and that gives the team addititional flexibility at a steep discount versus re-upping Bell.

        Bell would probably get 60% of his market value by staying in SD, hard pill for any working man to swallow. He’s grateful for the opportunity the Padres gave him, and this is his hometown team, so he could be willing…. but I’d surely test his roots by offering him 2 years guaranteed only.

        The pen is going to be so nasty next year… Bell/Adams/Gregerson/Frieri/Thatcher — us Pad fans are in for a treat, again.

        • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 4 years ago

          I love heath Bell. I wouldn’t mind him being kept around. Thing is, they have Adams and Gregerson, both seem perfectly capable of closing, and could be had for a reasonable extension, far more reasonable than anything they’d have to give Bell.

          On the other hand, it’s the strongest part of their team-the part that more than anything else kept them in the race longer than they should have been. And Adams as good as he is, posting back to back to back Nintendo numbers, still is too well acquainted with the DL for my tastes. Bell as the closer would be good for the younger pitchers, they do their job, and Bell has their back.

          If Bell would sign a reasonable deal, one that could still keep him a viable trade option, I’d do it. You never know when situations may change for teams and players. Sign Bell, but do not give him a no trade clause.

        • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 4 years ago

          I love heath Bell. I wouldn’t mind him being kept around. Thing is, they have Adams and Gregerson, both seem perfectly capable of closing, and could be had for a reasonable extension, far more reasonable than anything they’d have to give Bell.

          On the other hand, it’s the strongest part of their team-the part that more than anything else kept them in the race longer than they should have been. And Adams as good as he is, posting back to back to back Nintendo numbers, still is too well acquainted with the DL for my tastes. Bell as the closer would be good for the younger pitchers, they do their job, and Bell has their back.

          If Bell would sign a reasonable deal, one that could still keep him a viable trade option, I’d do it. You never know when situations may change for teams and players. Sign Bell, but do not give him a no trade clause.

    • Most of the Padres starting pitchers are not even arbitration eligible, let alone at a point the Padres need to be thinking of locking them up long term.

  5. longtimepadrefan 4 years ago

    It all depends on what Bell wants. He stated he does not necessarily want “market value” such as A-Gon wanted. If he settled for $15-16M over 3 years (a very deep discount) the Padres would have to listen. Padres still might do better to move him and promote within. The key to the Padres is a strong bullpen. Heath Bell has been a major force for them the past few years. I would enjoy seeing him long term again at the right price.

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      If he goes out and dominates again this year it would be in his best interest to look for “market value”. If he truely wants to stay in SD, good for him. I hope he lowers his demands and makes it work. If you ask me, the best option is to keep him until the deadline and deal him. They have a lot of young pitchers in SD that need a strong closer to finish what they started. Develop Adams or another arm to take over once he leaves. It would be ashame if the young pitchers in SD can’t develop due to blown saves.

  6. After trading Gonzalez, I really don’t see why you’d then turn around and try to keep Bell. He’s already old enough, so might as well get whatever you can for him right now.

  7. If a mutli-year contract is Bell’s dream to get from SD, why not give him one? He appears to be forfeiting leverage here, which may mean that he’d be more than happy to sign a very team friendly contract. It couldn’t hurt to look into.

  8. MoveInTheFences 4 years ago

    Gotta love the people saying that the Padres are a losing team. Is 90 wins a losing team? The majority of the team is young with plenty of room for improvement. Yes, they lost Adrian, but brought in a player likely to have a comeback year and was a very good hitter for several years. They’ve also upgrade 2B, SS, CF, and LF. The pitching is still top notch and the offense has even more potential. Writing the Padres off for 2011 is even dumber than it was in 2010.

    • Victor Kipp 4 years ago

      If the Padres thught they had a shot at a World Series they wouldn’t have traded Gonzalez. Sorry man but ya you can write them off.

      • MoveInTheFences 4 years ago

        Hoyer didn’t want to trade Adrian. He did it because we would have only got 2 draft picks if we held on to him. It was a hard decision, but they needed to get the most we could for Adrian. That has nothing to do with whether or not they feel we can compete. Everyone was writing the Padres off last year and most picked them to finish last in the division. How stupid do they look now? I don’t expect anyone to take them seriously in 2011 either. They’re going to surprise people once again.

      • Sd_brain 4 years ago

        Padres will definitely do better than expected. They main reason we competed was our pitching and defense, which is still intact.Sure Adrian was a big loss but he wasn’t solely responsible for all of our wins, the whole TEAM was.

      • dc21892 4 years ago

        He had no choice. He met with AGons reps and realized it wasn’t possible to retain him.

      • marinest21 4 years ago

        The Padres traded Adrian not because they didn’t think they could win a WS this season but because they couldn’t afford to pay one player $20 mil+/year.

        Think McFly, think.

  9. Sd_brain 4 years ago

    First I say hear Bell out and try and get a deal. If we can’t give him what he wants then trade him at the deadline, we can’t afford to lose him as a free agent. I’m a huge Bell fan but I’m a bigger Padre fan, the teams well being needs to be first, that’s why I would suspect Hoyer to deal him because his main objective is building a farm.

    • Victor Kipp 4 years ago

      In the interest of full disclosure I am a Red Sox fan. Unfortunately, it looks like the Padres will not compete after having a great season last year. Clearly the padres need to trade him to build up a system of players for the future. That being said, The best market for moving a closer is in the off season when there are clear needs that need to be met for closers. Contending teams always have a solid guy in place by the time the deadline rolls around. If Jed were smart he would try to deal him now while his value is highest and not only get out of the money he would be owed bit also get top young players for him now. At the same time the Pads should be realistic in understanding that closers unless they are long-term successes never get that much in return. If they can get 1 really good prospect back it may be a good time to look into letting Bell go. Personally, closers pop up all the time and just don’t have that much value overall. case in point “Bell”. he came out of no where himself.

  10. Closers usually fetch more at the deadline than during the offseason as many teams are looking to acquire one more top notch reliever.
    Big name bats usually fetch more during the offseason than at the deadline as only a few teams are willing to trade pieces for someone that will demand huge $.

    this is just my opinion

    • jeffmaz 4 years ago

      that’s what I think, but I’d love to see the data – of which players get the largest contracts at what point in the season

      baseball tracks everything – I’m sure we can get this info somewhere

    • Add to that the fact that if the Padres do sign Bell to a team friendly multi-year deal that is being tossed around (3yrs/$20-$21 million) it actually makes him MORE valuable as a trade piece at the deadline if the Padres are not in the hunt for a playoff spot.

      Signing Bell, an elite closer, to a multi-year deal is a no lose proposition for the Padres.

  11. padresfuture 4 years ago

    No problem keeping him at around $5-7 million per year. Anything more and I would be inclined to trade him and use Adams as the closer next year.

  12. jeffmaz 4 years ago

    Tough call…I think it’s worth signing a 4 yr 24 mil deal with Bell. But, the Padres are in no hurry to do anything…so they are better off waiting – which is what Jed is doing.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      I agree. Plus for a quality closing pitcher that contract it pretty cheap. competitive teams would definitely take on that salary.

  13. My question is why would they let an All Star 1B who was only due $6MM go and then talk about spending nearly $20MM on a closer? I realize AGon is going to fetch $20MM a season… but the Padres had a shot to compete THIS year. Their pitching is as good as the Giants (or close to it) and the Giants won it all with a league average offense. Adding a few pieces on O couldve put them in contention for a title.

    • start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Because the Pads could get 3 good prospects now for Gonzalez instead of an outside shot at competing and 2 draft picks.

    • Because the Padres would lose Gonzalez at the end of the season. There was simply no way the Padres could afford the $20+ million per year Gonzalez will get in FA. In fact NO team with a payroll less than $120_ million per year can afford Gonzalez.

      The Padres CAN afford an elite closer at $6-7 million per year even with their estimated $45 million payroll in 2011.

      Even without Gonzalez the Padres have a shot to compete this year. The 90 win season in 2010 was based more on pitching and defense than any offense one player can provide and with offensive upgrades at 4 positions and only one downgrade, the Padres can compete again in 2011.

  14. Isn’t the chance at a world series now better than the possibility of a chance at the WS in the future???? Who knows how long that pitching holds up. Clayton Richards might regress… Latos might die. Who the eff knows..

  15. disgruntledreader 4 years ago

    I’m of the opinion that unless his name is Mariano, you should never sign a guy north of 30 to a multi-year deal as a closer. The track-record of shoulder, elbow and back injuries for significantly overweight (Bell’s Wii usage notwithstanding) righties with uber-maximum effort deliveries is just too ugly for me to be willing to bet on him being healthy for three years.

  16. From an upcoming post on possible Padres signings and trades on my blog – Websoulsurfer

    If the multi-year contracts of Hudson and Bartlett are any indication, Jed Hoyer is putting together a Padres team for a 2 year run at the playoffs. That would be a real good sign for Heath Bell signing a multi-year contract too.

    For the past two seasons Bell has been an elite closer recording the most saves in baseball. His FIP is the lowest in the game amongst relievers with 120+ IP over that period, his xFIP & ERA are 5th in baseball and only Carlos Marmol gave up less HR per 9.

    In 2010 Bell gave up just 1 home run in 70+ innings. He had a 2.05 FIP and a 1.93 ERA. In other words his ballpark & defense had little effect on his effectiveness as a pitcher.

    Keeping Bell in the fold for 2 years gives the young pitchers on the staff an incredible boost of confidence. They don’t HAVE to go 9 perfect innings to win the game. All they have to do is give 6-7 good innings every time out and the bullpen will do the rest.

    Bell could probably be signed for a similar amount to the contracts we are seeing handed out for setup men.

    Link to FA tracker on MLBTRadeRumors
    link to transactions.mlbtraderumors.com

    Comparatively Bell is a bargain.

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