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.