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.

The Rays announce “The Rays Tank.” Really.

Tampa Bay Rays
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Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.

If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.

In other news, the Rays announced a new blog:

Oh.