Heath Bell seeking three-year deal from Padres

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Padres closer Heath Bell was awarded MLB’s Delivery Man of the Year Award earlier this week for posting a 1.93 ERA and converting 47 of 50 save opportunities during the regular season.

And now he’s looking to cash in, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times.

“Three years is perfect,” Bell said Thursday when asked about possible negotiations toward a contract extension. “I don’t expect more because I’m an older guy.”

That last part is nice and all, but a three-year deal might be a reach.  Bell earned $4 million in 2010 via salary arbitration and could be bumped to a salary as high as $7 million for 2011.  Extend that over the next three seasons and Bell is essentially asking for a three-year contract worth more than $20 million.  That’s big-time money to pay a closer and the Padres have a rather small operating budget.

Bell is one of the best ninth-inning men in the game — there’s little doubt about that — but he may have to move elsewhere after 2011 in order to cash in.  Look for his name to come up in trade talks this winter and again next summer.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.