The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports that while the Phillies have been aggressive in pursuing Heath Bell and Mike Adams, the Padres are surprised there hasn’t been more interest from contenders like the Yankees, Reds and Cardinals.
Bell went on ESPN Radio on Sunday and predicted that he’d be traded to the Cardinals, Phillies or Rangers. ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden said later that Bell was the Rangers’ No. 1 trade target.
Since they’re factoring in the cost of missing out on two compensation picks in next year’s draft, the Padres have put a heavy price on Bell’s head. A team isn’t just buying two-plus months of Bell; it’s also getting two possible top-40 picks if he leaves as a free agent.
For that reason, there’s a growing suspicion the Padres might keep Bell and trade Adams instead. Adams could bring a bigger haul since he costs less and he’s under control for 2012. He’s also arguably the superior pitcher; Adams has a 1.20 ERA this year and a 1.33 ERA in 148 2/3 innings since the beginning of 2009. Bell is at 2.45 this season and 2.35 in 180 innings over the last three seasons.
The Padres will almost certainly deal one of the two before Sunday’s deadline. Don’t be too surprised if Bell ends up staying and Adams makes his way to Philadelphia or Texas.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.