UPDATE: Another source tells Rosenthal that it’s “highly unlikely” that the Padres will move Heath Bell this offseason.
Why? Well, folks like Rafael Soriano, Bobby Jenks, Kevin Gregg, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood are all available in free agency. The wealth of options will undoubtedly hurt what the Padres could receive in return. There would be some advantage to acquiring Bell this winter in that it wouldn’t require a multi-year contract, but there’s a good chance that the Padres will be able to find a better deal from a desperate team as the trade deadline approaches next season.
11:05 AM: This isn’t a fun day for Padres fans.
With their franchise player Adrian Gonzalez about to be shipped to Boston, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Padres will “absolutely” trade Heath Bell.
Bell has a 2.54 ERA over four seasons since joining the Padres and has blossomed into one of the most dominant closers in all of baseball. The 33-year-old earned $4 million through the arbitration process this past season while posting a 1.93 ERA, 47 saves and an 86/28 K/BB ratio over 70 innings.
He figures to make upwards of $6 million in his final year of arbitration this winter, so with Gonzalez about to be traded for a trio of minor leaguers, it doesn’t make much sense to have him closing games for a team that is unlikely to compete for the playoffs in 2011.
Rosenthal names the White Sox, Angels, Marlins, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Rays as teams that could have interest in Bell. He should be one of the hottest commodities at next week’s winter meetings.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.