One of the most shocking developments of this weekend’s trading frenzy was a deal that wasn’t made. Closer Heath Bell was not moved by the San Diego Padres and now it looks as if he could remain with the team for quite some time.
Bell claimed he was surprised that he wasn’t dealt, but now the tables are turned and his future largely depends on the decisions he makes. The native of Oceanside (a suburb of San Diego) has said he wants to stay with the Padres: “I want to be a Padre. And the ball is in my court.”
Bell would like to land a three-year contract with the team and has even publicly stated he’d take far less money than he could get on the open market to stay in San Diego. The Padres plan to offer Bell arbitration after this season, which means that if the free-agent-to-be signed elsewhere, they would receive two draft picks as compensation. But, if Bell accepts arbitration, he could end up getting a ridiculous raise based on the current market. For example, Jonathan Papelbon makes $12 million and Bell has better numbers over the past few years.
On the other hand, Bell knows his situation. He knows San Diego can’t afford to pay one player $12 million, especially a closer. The thing is, he’s also the kind of guy who wants to win and knows the money saved on him could be reinvested to improve the team.
So how much of a hometown discount will Bell take? I think we’ll find out soon, as the team would love to lock him up before the season is over.