Phillies the top suitors for Padres’ Heath Bell, Mike Adams

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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.