It came as something of a surprise when the Padres retained closer Heath Bell at Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline. A pending free agent on a small-market club, Bell was considered the favorite among relievers on this July's trade market to find a new home.
However, no suitor could meet the Padres' asking price, apparently, which is reported to have been some player (or players) the Friars deemed to be of equal value to the two compensatory draft picks they'd receive in the offseason if Bell were to sign elsewhere after turning down arbitration.
The situation has grown complicated for the Padres, however, as Buster Olney of ESPN.com and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com explained in separate pieces today. After the deadline, Bell said he'd accept arbitration if the Padres offered it to him, which would not be cost effective for a team on a tight budget. After all, Bell, 34 in September, could earn as much as $12-13MM in 2012 after another trip through arbitration.
The Padres also don't seem especially inclined to offer him a long-term deal — even at a discount — because he's said since Spring Training that he'd take one, and yet none has come to fruition. The others options are to trade him this month after putting him on waivers, which is not easy and compromises bargaining leverage, or to perhaps release Bell after going through arbitration if the price is exorbitant, a scenario put forth by Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres.
If you're wondering about the fantasy ramifications of this situation, check out the post I wrote up today over at CloserNews.com.
Anyway, what would you do if you were the Padres?