When we looked at Heath Bell's trade value a couple months ago, we assumed the Padres would be sellers this summer. They didn't appear ready to contend, and Bell – effective and affordable – seemed like a natural trade candidate.
The surprising Padres are 30-20, so they're not about to start handing veterans over for salary relief and prospects just yet. But that doesn't mean Bell will be a Padre at the end of the year. The Padres could consider dealing him this summer, not for top prospects but for major league reinforcements.
The Padres should have some flexibility as the season progresses, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The team opened the season with a $38MM payroll, so it would be a surprise to see them add significant salary. This is speculation, but the Padres could decide to deal Bell, who makes $4MM and will earn more through arbitration next year, in exchange for some offense.
Bell has a 1.17 ERA and 14 saves. His walk (2.7 BB/9) and strikeout (11.7 K/9) rates are outstanding. Few teams can afford to deal a reliever like that, but the Padres don't have your average bullpen. As a group, Bud Black's relievers have posted a 2.96 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning. Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica, Mike Adams and Joe Thatcher have dominated. When active, Tim Stauffer and Adam Russell have been excellent as well.
Other than Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein, Nick Hundley and Scott Hairston, the Padres have not been doing much at the plate. As well as they have played, the Padres could use some offense (14th in the NL in runs) and Bell could help them get some. There's no indication that the Padres are thinking of moving their closer, but that's one way the team could find some offense this summer.
They can probably move on of Adams or Gregerson as well. All three of those guys are top relievers and they should manage without one. They really need some offense. Maybe they can be a match with the Cubs. Even though the Cubs probably won’t win their division this year, one of those guys would be a big help and they can probably get Theriot or Fontenot for one of them.
the problem with trading those two though is that they don’t have the proven name that Bell does. Sure they’re fine relievers but try being a GM and explain why you just traded one of your better hitters for Adams or Gregerson. People want the security of knowing they have a proven closer or backup closer ala George sherill last year.
“Other than Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein, Nick Hundley and Scott Hairston, the Padres have not been doing much at the plate.”I would add Yorvit Torrealba to that list, 14 RBI hitting .417 with RISP, .333 with the bases loaded and .364 RISP w/2 Outs. With runners on, .310
Chase Headley has also been very productive!
Miguel Angel Barajas
“Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica, Mike Adams and Joe Thatcher have dominated.”
I wonder how many of those will end up playing for (Padres GM) Hoyer’s former boss Theo with the BoSox in exchange for next to nothing. The Padres way of doing “business” with their closest associate.
Probably none because their GM seems pretty smart
what are you basing this comment on? I follow the Sox very closely and do not recall any trades with the Padres since Hoyer’s been in San Diego. All i remember is all the rumors and blog postings full of assumptions that the Sox would get some sort of discounted deal from the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez.
As we all know that didn’t happen as of yet; so i am struggling to figure out exactly your point here. What exactly is the “Padres way of doing “business” with their closest associate”.
Please inform me.
I wouldn’t say Mujica has dominated.
The Padres are in an enviable position right now. They have extra pitching, both starting and relieving, as well as nice pitching on the farm. Kevin Correia would be an excellent trade chip too. They can trade any number of relievers. They’ll just pluck a replacement off of their assembly line. Nobody builds a bullpen on the cheap like the Padres do. I say that knowing they play in a pitchers park. They still have to throw strikes and avoid walks, something they are good at doing. It’s smart baseball to have players that adapt well to the home park.
I’d suggest they call the Brewers about Corey Hart or Rickie Weeks. See which pitcher they want. Try the Astros too. See if Hunter Pence could be had. Garrett Jones? Josh Willingham? Cody Ross? Jose Bautista? I hope they attempt to add a few players to shore up the offense.
As a Padres fan who sees most of their games – ok, all – I think the focus needs to be on adding a right handed bat with some pop. The pop does not necessarily need to come in the form of home run power; in their park getting a guy who can run and hits tons of doubles would go a long way. That said, I think the following players would make some sense:
As odd as it sounds, I think Young would top my list. Why? Because he fits PetCo with his speed, he generally makes contact, he hits a ton of doubles, his power is still developing, he has a cannon for an arm, and he’s still only 24. His plate discipline is also improving.
Why would the Twins move him? Because I think he’s somewhat expendable to them. They have a couple young outfielders waiting in the wings, they have a ton of offense with Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Kubel, and I don’t think they believe Jon Rausch will hold up as a closer all year.
Willingham would be second on my list, but his balky back would scare me. Hart would be third, but there are some challenges to adding him (he’s playing way over his head and he’s arbitration eligible next year, so it would be a short term rental). Ross would be ok.
The padres wouldn’t touch Weeks because he’s fragile and they love David Eckstein. I don’t think they’d be willing to trade what the Pirates would want for Jones, and I don’t think putting a lefthanded bat behind Adrian is wise. Pence would be too costly in terms of prospects, IMO.
You could add three guys from the AL central. There are different reasons both positive and negative for each of the three guys, but for the right price all three would be able to help the Padres.
Jose Guillen could probably be had for a signed Trevor Hoffman baseball. He has the ability to play a corner outfield spot in that huge field, has decent pop and would be able to supply some protection to AGON. I know he’s got a reputation to be a little bit of a time bomb, but for what it would take to acquire the guy I would take the risk.
Andruw Jones: He is without a doubt a tough guy to figure out. Is he done completely at 33 years old or does he still have something left? The White sox would probably rather get rid of more expensive players but if the guy can net them anything considering what they paid for him they would probably sign off on that. He would provide a veteran, above avg defense at the corners and a guy that can fill in in center. He would provide some pop whether in the starting lineup or off the bench.
Juan Pierre: Obviously he doesn’t supply much power, he never has and never will. He would be able to use that large outfield to his advantage and he would provide them with a spark with his energy, leadership and speed. He has the ability to hit 1 or 2 or 6-9 in the lineup, play all three spots in a pinch and could be a weapon off the bench or play left field everyday. Either way it wouldn’t take much to grab him either.
All three of these players would be an upgrade to the Padres.
Nice article Ben.
I think Adams is more of a trade candidate than Bell at this point. I would not be surprised to see him moved for an OF bat. The Brewers and Indians would be great trade candidates.
I think the padres should try to trade some pitching to the d-backs for Chris Young or Mark Reynold. Otherwise, Franklin Gutierrez or Dejesus.
It is 2 months til the trade deadline and another month beyond that where they can pick up a player on waivers. The Padres will wait until they are confident in their ability to make a run for the ring. If that happens and Chris Young does not return, they will pick up a starting pitcher and an outfielder with power – and they will spend what it takes in players and money to do it.