Asked this afternoon if trading Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox meant the Padres would soon be parting with closer Heath Bell too, general manager Jed Hoyer called it “exceptionally likely” that Bell would be San Diego’s closer on Opening Day.
Hoyer added that “this isn’t a firesale” and “Heath is going to be our closer in 2011.”
That doesn’t rule out trading Bell during the season, of course, and there’s been speculation that the Padres may be able to get more for him in July anyway because of how many quality relievers are still available on the free agent market right now.
Bell is arbitration eligible for the third and final time in 2011, after which he’ll be a free agent. He’s due for a significant raise from his $4 million salary this year after saving 47 games with a 1.93 ERA.
Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.