UPDATE: Another source tells Rosenthal that it’s “highly unlikely” that the Padres will move Heath Bell this offseason.
Why? Well, folks like Rafael Soriano, Bobby Jenks, Kevin Gregg, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood are all available in free agency. The wealth of options will undoubtedly hurt what the Padres could receive in return. There would be some advantage to acquiring Bell this winter in that it wouldn’t require a multi-year contract, but there’s a good chance that the Padres will be able to find a better deal from a desperate team as the trade deadline approaches next season.
11:05 AM: This isn’t a fun day for Padres fans.
With their franchise player Adrian Gonzalez about to be shipped to Boston, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Padres will “absolutely” trade Heath Bell.
Bell has a 2.54 ERA over four seasons since joining the Padres and has blossomed into one of the most dominant closers in all of baseball. The 33-year-old earned $4 million through the arbitration process this past season while posting a 1.93 ERA, 47 saves and an 86/28 K/BB ratio over 70 innings.
He figures to make upwards of $6 million in his final year of arbitration this winter, so with Gonzalez about to be traded for a trio of minor leaguers, it doesn’t make much sense to have him closing games for a team that is unlikely to compete for the playoffs in 2011.
Rosenthal names the White Sox, Angels, Marlins, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Rays as teams that could have interest in Bell. He should be one of the hottest commodities at next week’s winter meetings.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.