As further evidence that the Phillies have reached “Yankees of the National League” status and will now be linked to every big-name player being shopped, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that “they have been considered frontrunner to land a San Diego reliever.”
Heath Bell is the Padres’ closer and biggest name in the bullpen, but setup man Mike Adams might actually be San Diego’s best reliever. And while Bell is an impending free agent making a bunch of money Adams is relatively cheap and under team control for 2012. In other words, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would be smart to make a play for Adams before he pays a premium for Bell.
Olney notes that Chad Qualls is another Padres reliever who could be on the Phillies’ radar, although he’s more of a solid middle man than late-inning weapon like Adams or Bell. Ryan Madson returned from the disabled list today, allowing the Phillies to push fill-in closer Antonio Bastardo back into a setup role, but apparently with Brad Lidge still on the DL and Jose Contreras’ status uncertain Amaro is pushing for more bullpen help.
Earlier this week Padres GM Jed Hoyer replied “at this point right now I’m not certain” when asked whether Bell will be traded, but the All-Star closer still being in San Diego after July 31 is looking more and more unlikely.