Tag:Robbie Erlin
Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:13 pm

Rangers, Padres find no middle ground on Bell

The Padres have vowed they will not deal closer Heath Bell for anything less than a highly attractive return, and heading into the final hours toward the trade deadline, they're putting the Rangers to that test.

The Padres and Rangers continue to discuss Bell, sources with knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com, though those discussions did not advance much Friday from where they were a day earlier. The Padres' price has not come down, and Texas' offer has not increased.

Even at that, however, Bell still may be the Rangers' player to lose (if there is such a thing as "losing" a player you've never had): St. Louis continues to stay involved, according to sources, but only on the "fringe." And the Angels, who are said to be looking to boost their bullpen, currently are not involved.

That isn't to say the Angels or other clubs could not jump into the talks Saturday or sometime before Sunday's 4 p.m. EDT deadline. But as of now, the Rangers remain the biggest presence at the trade table, and they and the Padres continue to engage in a staredown.

According to CBSSports.com sources, the Padres are asking a three-player return for Bell, which surely could be adjusted down to two players if Texas produces the right two players. The Padres watched left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin's last start for Double-A Frisco and are believed interested in him. A few other key names in the Texas system: Martin Perez, a left-hander pitching at Triple-A Round Rock, Frisco right-handers Tanner Scheppers and Joe Wieland, and shortstop Jurickson Profar, 18, currently playing at Class A Hickory.

Bell, who collected his 30th save on Thursday, owns a 2.34 ERA and said of a trade, "It's going to happen."

He predicted: "It probably will be down to the wire."

That's the way it looks now. Texas is intent on improving its bullpen: Its 4.46 ERA is fourth-highest in the AL and the Rangers' 15 blown saves were tied for the third-highest. And as highly regarded as closer Neftali Feliz is, Rangers manager Ron Washington said the other day that he would like to see "a little more fire" from the closer.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels traveled to Toronto for this weekend's series with the Blue Jays, and several of his key advisers are with him as they sort through final offers and final moves between now and Sunday's deadline.

If the Padres elect to hold on to Bell and he leaves as a free agent this winter, they would receive two compensatory draft picks for him, the first one likely 20-something picks into the draft and the other in the 40s.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 7:59 pm

Bell talks continue, Rangers balk at high price

What we know right now is that the Rangers and Padres have spent significant time on the telephone over the past 24 hours with Texas taking a hard run at acquiring closer Heath Bell.

But while talks have been significant, substantive, pick your word, the potential deal continued to just sit there Thursday while the Rangers balked at the Padres' asking price, sources with knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com.

The Padres, according to sources, are asking a three-player return for Bell, a price Texas is not eager to pay. Whether Texas' pause could open the door for St. Louis, the Los Angeles Angels or another suitor to move in is unclear.

"It's going to happen," Bell said of a trade after he collected his 30th save of the season in San Diego's 4-3 win over Arizona. "It will probably be down to the wire."

Bell thinks he'll end up in Texas. The Rangers remain very interested, according to sources, and talks are said to be ongoing -- though, as of early afternoon Thursday in San Diego, they were not hot.

San Diego had a scout watching Texas pitching prospect Robbie Erlin at Double-A Frisco the other night. Erlin, Texas' third-round pick in the 2009 draft, is 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 10 starts this season, with 61 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.

The Rangers and Padres have had "good talks" over the past 24 hours, one source said, though Thursday's cooling is an indication that if there is to be a deal reached, it likely will not happen before Friday. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is said to be traveling with the Rangers to Toronto for this weekend's series and further trade deadline discussions.

Texas has settled on bullpen help as its top priority, and manager Ron Washington lately has become disenchanted with closer Neftali Feliz, saying publicly the other day that he wants to see "a little more fire" from the closer.

"I just don't see the urgency," Washington said. "I'm not saying it's not there, but he's not exuding urgency."

Bell, tied for third in the NL with 29 saves and a three-time All-Star, is full of energy, and his presence -- or that of another reliever like him -- probably would jack up Feliz a little bit.

The Rangers are said to be honed in on Bell, and indications are that they do not believe the Padres are going to trade set-up man Mike Adams.

One Padres source said the other day that the club believes Bell would sign a discounted multi-year deal in San Diego as a free agent this winter and, as such, suggested the club could keep him this summer.

"That's the key right there," Bell said after Thursday's game. "Honestly, with everything that's happened, I wouldn't rule out anything. I said I'd take a discount, and I want to stay here. Everyone knows that."

Still, it's hard to see the Padres not dealing him and getting something in return, even if talks between the closer and the team would lead toward belief that they could reunite this winter.

Padres GM Jed Hoyer was not available at Thursday afternoon's Arizona-San Diego game. But on Wednesday, he told AM1090, the Padres' flagship radio, "I think we should [trade]. We don't have the talent base here that we need two have in order to be successful."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com