Heath Bell is entering the final season of arbitration and notched 47 saves for the Padres last season along with a 1.93 ERA in 70 innings. As Bell's price tag is expected to rise to the $6 million range -- if not more -- the Padres could look to trade the righty, especially as he's likely to depart as a free agent. The Padres may not even be able to bank on his attaining Type A status because the compensatory draft pick process may be done away with in the next CBA, due to expire after the 2011 season.
The Padres have no shortage of quality relievers, although they did lose some depth in the deal of Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb to the Marlins for Cameron Maybin. However, they still have closer-quality relievers of Luke Gregorson and Mike Adams, so it may make sense to move Bell.
2010: 6-1, 47 SV, 70 IP, 1.93 ERA, 3.11 xFIP, 28 BB, 86 K
Career: 25-20, 91 SV, 419 1/3 IP, 3.16 ERA, 3.18 xFIP, 140 BB, 443 K
WHAT IT WILL TAKE
The Padres could see a young middle reliever in return, given they'll have deleted three pieces out of a strong bullpen with no viable replacement. Barring that, the club also needs a future at second and/or shortstop, depending on if the club believes in Everth Cabrera. Starting pitching is always in vogue, and the Padres could use a young catcher to platoon with Nick Hundley, or fill out the outfield.
However, a lot of what they deal Bell for may be colored by their expectations for an Adrian Gonzalez package, should that happen. If GM Jed Hoyer is confident that Gonzalez will be traded in July or next offseason and knows he'll be able to get an impact outfielder (such as Jacoby Ellsbury or Ryan Kalish from Boston), that may cause him to look in another direction with Bell.
WHERE HE COULD GO
If the Yankees somehow, improbably don't come to an accord with Mariano Rivera, Bell makes a lot of sense although New York would likely go after Rafael Soriano as Plan A in that scenario.
Bell could also be a fit in Seattle, as the team is attempting to stay relevant and integrate its top minor league pieces. David Aardsma is still with the team, but belongs in a setup role regardless.
In the NL, the Braves are a possibility with Billy Wagner retiring. However, the team is strapped for cash with plenty of internal candidates for replacement. Out in the Central, no team seems in a strong position to take on Bell. That leaves the Dodgers and Diamondbacks out west, both of whom could use new closers. L.A. may not be ready to give up on Jonathan Broxton, however.
Arizona, on the other hand, has GM Kevin Towers, who engineered Bell's arrival in San Diego and could be interested in a reunion.
Bell stays for now, but is traded at the deadline once the market opens up to include more teams.
Jason Bartlett | Heath Bell | Adrian Beltre | Carl Crawford | Adam Dunn | Prince Fielder | Paul Konerko | Cliff Lee | Victor Martinez (SIGNED) | Dan Uggla (TRADED) | Rafael Soriano | Justin Upton | Jayson Werth
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.