We’ve already talked about the Phillies’ side of things already regarding the Jonathan Papelbon deal, but what about the fallout for the Red Sox?
It once looked like Daniel Bard was the natural heir apparent for the ninth inning role, but whether it had to do with his struggles in September or not, it appears the Red Sox aren’t necessarily convinced that he’s ready for the gig.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Red Sox will be in on both Heath Bell and Ryan Madson this winter.
Neither figure to get as much guaranteed money as Papelbon, but they should do very well, even in a deep market for closer-types. Madson was reportedly close to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Phillies earlier this week and considering that Scott Boras is his agent, you can bet he’ll look for a similar deal elsewhere. As for Bell, he told Jim Bowden earlier this week that he would prefer to stay on the West Coast with either the Padres, Angels or Dodgers, but would also be open to signing with the Phillies or Red Sox.
Losing Papelbon is no doubt a blow for Red Sox fans who are witnessing some big changes this offseason. He’s the best closer in team history, so this probably stings a little bit. But I have a feeling they’re also happy new GM Ben Cherington wasn’t the one willing to give him a four-year, $50 million contract.
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.
San Francisco claimed Heath Bell off revocable waivers, but every indication was that the Giants were highly unlikely to acquire the impending free agent closer from the Padres and now it’s official.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the 48-hour window to work out a trade has passed without a deal, so Bell will stay in San Diego for the remainder of the season.
It’s unclear how serious the Giants were about actually trading for Bell, but at the very least their claiming him kept other NL teams from potentially picking up the dominant closer.
And now the Padres’ only hope to get something in return for Bell is to offer him arbitration and have the Type A free agent decline before signing elsewhere this winter.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Giants claimed Heath Bell off waivers, meaning they’re now the only team eligible to trade for the Padres closer.
Brian Wilson’s elbow problems may have played a factor in the Giants’ decision to claim Bell, although because the Padres obviously weren’t going to simply give him away for nothing there’s zero risk involved. And if they can’t agree to a deal, then at least they blocked Bell from going to other NL teams.
San Diego’s decision whether or not to trade Bell is a tricky one, because he’d fetch compensatory draft picks as a departing free agent, but there’s a shot he might simply accept the Padres’ arbitration offer and still a chance the two sides could agree to a multi-year deal. Whatever the case, it seems unlikely that the Padres would trade him to the Giants without getting at least one very good prospect in return.
From FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal comes the news that the Padres’ Heath Bell, the Cubs’ Carlos Pena and the Twins’ Jim Thome and Jason Kubel were all placed on trade waivers Monday.
They’ll all be on waivers — but still eligible to play — through Wednesday. If they clear waivers, they can be dealt at any point over the rest of the season, though to be eligible for the postseason, they’d have to be on their new rosters prior to Sept. 1.
Anyone not clearing waivers can either be pulled back or traded to the team with the highest priority that claims him.
Bell, Thome and Kubel are almost certain to get claimed on waivers. Even a non-contender might try to pick up Bell or Kubel, simply for the fact that it’d be worth taking on about $1 million in salary in an effort to get back draft-pick compensation this winter. All four players are going to become free agents after the season.
Since Pena makes the most money of the bunch and there isn’t a whole lot of need at first base among contenders, he might slip through waivers.
The Indians would be the obvious choice to grab Thome, especially after Travis Hafner got hurt Sunday. Besides the White Sox, the Indians have the worst record of any AL contender. Since these are trade waivers, leaguemates have priority for putting in claims. Thome, though, does have no-trade protection and could block either a deal or a waiver claim.
Bell appears highly unlikely to be traded. Any NL team, from the Astros and Cubs on up, could put in a claim just with the idea that he’d be worth it for the draft picks, and the Padres value those draft picks pretty highly themselves.