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?