One of the biggest prizes of this year’s trade deadline is San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. Tons of teams are interested in the 33-year-old right-hander whose awesomeness knows no bounds, but there has been a decided lack of movement on the Bell trade front over the past few weeks. That appears to have changed.
Several sources are now reporting that Bell is likely headed to the Texas Rangers for a package of prospects centered on left-handed starter Robert Erlin. With the Rangers Bell would likely be used as a setup man despite the fact that he’s a more accomplished closer than Neftali Feliz. Bell has said he wouldn’t mind being a setup guy for a few months.
The Philadelphia Phillies are the other potential landing spot for Bell, but the Rangers have jumped to the front of the pack by quite a big margin as of now. Bell has been his usual dominant self this year, posting a 2-3 record with 29 saves in 31 chances, with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. And, to be fair, one of those blown saves came because third baseman Chase Headley threw a ball away on an easy chance with two outs, allowing the tying run to score.
Erlin – the supposed centerpiece of the package headed to San Diego – was a third round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. He has superior control and has spent most of this season at Double-A, meaning he will likely start next season with the Padres Double-A affiliate in San Antonio. In 121.1 innings this season Erlin has allowed just 12 walks while striking out 123.
As for the Rangers if they pull the trigger and acquire Bell they will go a long way to making their bullpen one of the best in baseball. They’ll not only be getting a great pitcher, they’ll be getting an awesome, lovable guy who will only make the clubhouse that much stronger.