Padres general manager Jed Hoyer did a radio interview with XX-1090 in San Diego yesterday and had an interesting response to a direct question about whether he’s going to trade closer Heath Bell, saying: “At this point right now, I’m not certain.”
Hoyer also explained that ownership has not told him to trade Bell and noted that “it’s been a pleasure having him” on the Padres, but clearly his response indicates that Bell will be heavily shopped.
Not surprising, certainly, but when a GM does nothing to shoot down the possibility of a star player being traded within the next few weeks it’s safe to bump the odds of it happening up a bit.
In addition to Bell the Padres are also sure to get a ton of interest in setup man Mike Adams, who might actually have more trade value in some scenarios because he makes about half as much money and is under team control for next season, whereas Bell is an impending free agent.
Bell has said previously that he’d consider giving the Padres a discount to remain in San Diego long term, but assuming he’s not willing to take significantly less than he could easily get on the open market I expect him to be traded between now and July 31.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.