Heath Bell has gone as far as saying it would be his "dream" to stay in San Diego on a long-term deal. We've also heard that the two sides will discuss a multiyear deal this Spring, and if that's not enough for Padres fans, the 33-year-old closer said in an MLB Network Radio interview today that he'd accept less money to remain a Padre.
"I definitely would take less just to sign [in San Diego] just because it's the Padres and I want to stay here," said Bell. "I'm very open to take a discount but it has to be knowing that I'll be able to stay here and not what happened to Jake Peavy. Even though Jake had a no-trade clause, [the Padres were] just pushing to get him out. I really don’t want that to happen" (all Twitter links).
Two years ago, Peavy's name headlined trade rumors for what seemed to be an eternity, as his contract had become too burdensome for the Padres to handle. He was nearly traded to the White Sox once and vetoed the deal. At the trade deadline though, Peavy changed his tune and was sent to the south siders (after several more months of trade rumors).
Bell's 89 saves over the last two seasons lead all of baseball, and he owns a 10.6 K/9 and 2.32 ERA through 139 2/3 innings to go along with them. If a deal can't be worked out, Bell will likely be the most desireable name on an impressive list of free agent relievers.