Padres, Heath Bell Avoid Arbitration

The Padres avoided arbitration with Heath Bell, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $7.5MM deal, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). The closer was arbitration eligible for the third time after making $4MM in 2010. Bell, an ACES client, is set to hit free agency after the season.

Bell had expressed interest in a multiyear deal, but it wouldn't be easy for the Padres to commit $7.5MM-plus on an annual basis when their payroll sits under $50MM. GM Jed Hoyer hasn't publicly ruled out an extension, but at this point it appears that Bell is headed for the open market after the season, where he'll be joined by closers Jonathan PapelbonJonathan Broxton, Matt Capps and others.

Bell posted a 1.93 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 70 innings last year. He made his second consecutive All-Star team and saved 47 games, anchoring the Padres' fine bullpen.

Though Bud Black's 'pen will look considerably different in 2011, Bell, Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson will return. Chad Qualls is nearing a deal with the Padres and his presence will help offset the loss of Edward Mujica, Ryan Webb, Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos.

Chase Headley, Ryan Ludwick, Adams and Tim Stauffer are the Padres' remaining unsigned arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows.

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6 Comments on "Padres, Heath Bell Avoid Arbitration"

4 years 8 months ago

He’s going to command $10 mil+ if he hits free agency, Dispite all the talk I cant imagine the Padres given him an extention unless he take a sizeable discount. Its going to be fun to see the trade rumors surrounding this guy in the summer though.

4 years 8 months ago

I have a feeling that he would have been cheaper if given security from SD. Otherwise he hits the market and goes for full value.

4 years 8 months ago

When are the trade winds going to start blowing. There is no way an extension will be worked out, when your budget is 40 million alloting almost a 1/4 of that to your closer is not wise. The Padres should be able to get at least 1 top notch prospect seeing that the Nats got Ramos for Capps last season. I can’t wait for the ridiculous Bell for an A ball player and a journey man rumors. He should and will bring back a very good piece to the Padres for there rebuilding puzzle.

4 years 8 months ago

My bet is he gets dealt by the all star break. The Pads could keep him, but I think he’s worth more to the Pads as a trade in than a closer. By the all star break the field of potential contenders will be set and most of them will want a solid reliever.

4 years 8 months ago

A payroll under $50 million…The Padres should move to the PCL.

4 years 8 months ago

And yet with the lowest payroll they were the 4th best team in the NL. When will people learn that payroll is not the best way to determine the quality of a team. Its not going to stay under 50 forever, but for now it makes sense to keep payroll low until the farm can start to produce at a higher level.