Red Sox didn’t match Marlins’ offer to Heath Bell

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In the news conference to announce his signing with the Marlins on Monday, Heath Bell said the Red Sox made him an offer, but that it came up short of the three-year, $27 million pact he got from the Marlins.

“I thought, ‘Red Sox would be cool. I’ve got an inside track. I know [Adrian Gonzalez] real well.’” Bell said. “I know Adrian made a couple phone calls. But for whatever reason, the contract that they offered wasn’t living up to what my guys thought we could get. They said other clubs did offer a little bit more. I thought this was the best fit for me and my family. The National League East is definitely open. The Marlins can definitely win this year.”

After being mentioned in trade rumors so frequently the last year and a half, Bell held out for a three-year deal.

“I really wanted to know that I was going to be someplace for multiple years,” Bell said. “I didn’t want to go someplace for a year or two. I wanted to build something there.”

The Red Sox, meanwhile, remain in the market for a closer. They’ll probably be willing to top their Bell offer in order to get Ryan Madson, but if they can’t get that done, they could give the role to Daniel Bard.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.