With one season remaining until he can become a free agent, Heath Bell and the Padres have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $7.5 million contract.
Bell, who made $1.255 million in his first season of arbitration and $4 million last year in his second season of eligibility, has said he’d like to sign a long-term deal with the Padres.
However, with the price tag likely starting around $10 million per season for at least three years the Padres seem more likely to either trade him during the season if they fall out of contention or simply take the pair of draft picks as compensation when he leaves as a free agent.
Bell has been amazing since joining San Diego four seasons ago, throwing 311 innings with a 2.54 ERA and 338 strikeouts while allowing just 236 hits, but he’s also 33 years and based on their recent payrolls the Padres aren’t likely to make a long-term commitment that pays $10 million for 70 innings per season.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.