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Here's how Sunday began: Ken Rosenthal took to his blog and stated rather matter-of-factly that "[Heath] Bell will be traded Sunday before the non-waiver deadline." It just doesn't make a lot of sense for the go-nowhere Padres to hang on to their free-agent-to-be closer with other teams interested.
Here's how Sunday has proceeded. First, from Rosenthal:
And second, from Joe Strauss:
Straight from John Mozeliak: Cardinals sensing no traction for Bell.
The Rangers and Cardinals have looked like Bell's most likely destinations, but neither team is on the verge of getting him. It doesn't help the Padres that the Rangers just traded for Koji Uehara, who is amazing when he's healthy. The Rangers now have less need, which makes them less willing to cough up a big prospect or two, which makes the Cardinals less willing to cough up a big prospect or two, which makes the Padres upset.
Three hours. We'll see where this one goes. Bell is still going to be traded, probably. But someone's going to have to blink, or another team is going to have to come charging in out of the blue.
The Texas Rangers have been hot after San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. So hot, in fact, that many baseball executives predicted that Bell would end up in Texas by the deadline. The fit is there, with Neftali Feliz struggling, and the Rangers certainly have the prospects to send the other way. On the surface, it seems to make so much sense.
But Jim Bowden reports that talks aren't going as smoothly as some figured they might:
Padres - Rangers are not making progress in Bell negotiations.....it's a stand-off headed for the deadline
Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising. The fit is so good that the Padres might be trying to extract every last bit that they can from Texas before reaching an agreement. The deadline, after all, is still two days away, so it's not like San Diego is in a rush. The pressure's on Texas, as they have a need, and other teams are interested in Bell as well. I'm sure they're trying to hold their ground, but they may have to sacrifice more than they want in order to get something done.
Or maybe they won't. The important thing is that no Bell trade appears to be imminent. For now. Check back in five minutes.
Not so long ago, the Phillies were supposedly hot for Padres closer Heath Bell. But that never made a great deal of sense, considering a) the Phillies' huge head-start toward a playoff spot, b) Antonio Bastardo's surprising excellence, and c) Brad Lidge's return to duty.
The Rangers, though? They could really use a guy like Heath Bell ...
This would be an easy choice, right? Bell's been one of the game's greatest relievers for a few years now. Neftali Feliz was Rookie of the Year in 2010, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio has tumbled this season and he's given up four home runs in 38 innings. For whatever reason, he just doesn't look like the same pitcher who pitched so brilliantly just a year ago. The Rangers have one area of weakness, and acquiring Heath Bell would address it perfectly.
Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson are all really talented relievers. They've also all spent time this season on the disabled list, so with the Philadelphia Phillies clearly looking like World Series contenders, it makes sense that they'd be interested in finding some bullpen insurance. And it makes sense that they'd be interested in finding some really good bullpen insurance. So, Joel Sherman:
The Phillies have been linked to Heath Bell and Mike Adams from the get-go, because Heath Bell and Mike Adams are great relievers on a bad baseball team. Bell is the more affordable of the two, since he's on the verge of free agency, but Adams is the better of the two, so it makes for an interesting situation in which Bell and Adams end up connected. Where one is involved in a rumor, so, it seems, is the other.
The Phillies are not the only team in pursuit of these guys, but - at least according to Sherman - they're evidently one of fewer than the Padres expected, at least so far. But things have a way of developing awful fast as the deadline sneaks up.
Mike Adams is making $8.50 an hour, he's under contract for 2012, and he might be the best reliever in baseball. So it makes sense that the San Diego Padres aren't just going to give him away for a stack of National Geographics. According to a source who talked with Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan, the Padres don't want to trade him at all:
Certainly a team could come with a blowaway offer, but Padres owner Jeff Moorad last week personally told Adams "you’re not going anywhere," according to a team source.
That must be comforting for Adams. Except according to Marty Caswell of XX1090 Sports Radio, it's news to Adams that he won't be traded:
Contrary to a report by Yahoo Sports, Mike Adams says he has NOT been told by Padres owner Jeff Moorad that he won't be traded
Awkward. The next update will be on how Moorad either:
Considering that the first report said that the Padres were still leaving the unless-there's-a-blowaway-offer door open, there's still a pretty good chance that Adams will be traded before the trade deadline.
The Philadelphia Phillies won the 2011 National League Pennant after signing Cliff Lee in the offseason, and they are scheduled to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series this year. So don't worry about watching the rest of the regular season, it was all settled in the offseason.
Phillies are in play for Heath Bell or Mike Adams or Chad Qualls. They have been considered frontrunner to land a SD reliever.
Here's the trio, in order of how much it would cost in prospects, from "top prospects" to "organizational guy":
Oh, he's not the closer, but he'll cost more in prospects because a) he's only making around $2 million this year, b) he is still under team control for 2012, and c) the last time he allowed an earned run, it was on a bloop double to Ruben Sierra. The Padres have already said they'll need a top prospect for Adams.
He's clearly the best closer on the market -- heck, he might be the best closer in baseball, including Mariano Rivera. He'll be a free agent after this season, and he's making $7.5 million this season, so about $3 million of that would be the Phillies' responsibility.
Qualls is a reclamation project that worked out, as he has a 2.60 ERA this season for the Padres. He was so bad for the Diamondbacks last year, thought, that he's probably still allowing earned runs for them. If the Padres could get a b-list prospect for him, they'd probably be thrilled.
If the Phillies want to part with a prospect like Jarred Cosart or Jonathan Singleton, the Padres will listen. If they don't want to part with someone like that, the Qualls route should be a lot cheaper.
Of course, Qualls isn't nearly as good. Adams and Bell are the best 1-2 bullpen punch in baseball, and both of them are probably top-five relievers in all of baseball. If the Phillies want them, they'll have to load prospects onto an ark, two by two.