While packing up his locker yesterday impending free agent Heath Bell told Dan Hayes of the North County Times that he expects to re-sign with the Padres this offseason:
It’s one of those things that hopefully the front office and my agent can do something. But I’m not worried about that. In my head, I’m not done.
San Diego opted against cashing in Bell for prospects at the trade deadline, choosing instead to take compensatory draft picks for the closer if he signs elsewhere as a free agent. To do that they’ll have to offer Bell arbitration and there’s an outside chance the 34-year-old right-hander will accept, locking the two sides into a one-year deal for around $9 million.
More likely is that if the Padres want to keep Bell they’ll have to outbid everyone for him on the market and it’ll be interesting to see if general manager Jed Hoyer wants to commit to a 34-year-old closer at a premium salary for multiple seasons. Bell may have to take less than the maximum possible contract to remain in San Diego.