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The Twins are scouting Heath Bell

Mar 19, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

Heath Bell.jpgJoe Nathan is going to try and throw this weekend and obviously everyone hopes he’ll be OK.  But let’s be honest: not many pitchers can throw with torn torn ligaments in their elbow and the chances of Nathan being the Twins’ closer this year are slim.  Minnesota needs to look at other options. And according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale they’re doing so. Specifically, they’re scouting the Padres’ Heath Bell.

Bell is one of the best closers in the National League — 42 saves; 79Ks in 69 IP, 2.71 ERA in 2009 — and at $4 million this year, something of a bargain for a man of his talents. He also has closer’s facial hair, and that’s just not the kind of thing that can be taught.

Given how much the Twins have done to improve this offseason, the new ballpark and the fact that the AL Central is totally, totally winable, you have to think that they’re not going to want to give the closer’s job to, say, Jon Rauch, if it’s avoidable.

  1. Dan Whitney - Mar 19, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    I like Heath Bell quite a bit, but if turning his talents and market value into some prospects can be done I think the Padres need to go for it. They’re a scrappy gutty fun little team this year but ultimately not going anywhere. Even if they continue to play as well as they did in the second half of last season, it’s one of those cases where they can come in third with or without Bell, whose market value might be peaking and with the Twins in a spot of need, the Pads can leverage this into something useful going forward.

  2. The Common Man - Mar 19, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    I like Bell, but wonder whether he’s cost prohibitive at this point. The reason the Twins were able to acquire Nathan in the first place was because he was a set-up guy who we were able to convert into an elite closer. This only makes sense if the Twins aren’t forced to give up Revere, Ramos, Gibson, or Hicks. ReCaptha: in schmandt (I never get good ones.)

  3. Trevor B - Mar 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    I think the Twins should go for this. As much as I have full faith in Rauch closing, if we could get our mitts on Bell that’d be almost as good of a closer as Nathan. Lets face it, the only guy to truly come back from Tommy John surgery was Tommy John… and I guess Josh Johnson is doing good, too.
    Craig, I will kiss your shoe for delivering this news if the Twins do infact get Bell.

  4. dl3mk3 - Mar 19, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Unless its Bell for Perkins straight up i wouldnt do it….the way Gardy uses closers and innings pitched the twins are out what-2 wins tops.

  5. Bear - Mar 19, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    “the only guy to truly come back from Tommy John surgery was Tommy John… and I guess Josh Johnson is doing good, too.”
    AJ Burnett, Christ Carpenter, etc seem to have bounced back fine. Nathan is pretty old to have the surgery, so his chances are probably lower than the typical TJ candidate.
    Of course, this will depend on the Pads asking price. It seems the Twins have a position of strenght in young outfielders, maybe one of these headlining the deal would get it done.

  6. Corey E - Mar 19, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Well, that’s not going to happen. Perkins doesn’t have any trade value. In the real world you’re going to have to give up something to get Bell. It shouldn’t be any of the organizations top prospects, but it should be some quality none-the-less. Rene Tosoni is a starting point, where it goes from there remains to be seen.

  7. Trevor B - Mar 19, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    So I missed a few guys, but that wasn’t the point in my sarcastic comment. Point is the TJ is generally a killer for any pitcher… unfortneatly :'(

  8. Zack - Mar 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    I’m expecting the Pads’ asking price to be pretty high for Bell. $4.2 million is a pretty low contract amount for a very good closer. Two years of team control and an attractive contract would have them looking for a haul.
    As a Twins fan, I’m fine with our bullpen options as they are right now. I’d bring Anthony Slama up with the team, let Rauch close for a month, and if he’s doing poorly move Slama or one of the other options into that role. Slama’s minor league numbers are nice, and he’s not given up a hit or a run yet this spring (SSS Warning) and has a 6 K : 1 BB ratio.
    I think the Twins are fine standing pat. Nathan is an excellent closer, but the Twins have enough good arms in the pen & available for the pen that I think they can make it through the year without him with minimal damage to the W column.

  9. Bob - Mar 19, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    I would make a hard push for Bell if I were the Twins GM. Just feel that they have a decent chance to win it all this year & if Mauer refuses to be reasonable could be last chance for a while. I think Perkins has to be included on any deal – what his value is is unclear (wasn’t enough for Kozmanhof) so probably have to include either Revere or Angel Morales. Each of whom would be a high price. If you can get it done with Perkins, and two of the following: Slama, Delaney, Tosoni, Hughes, Swarzak, Manship, Portes I think you have to do the deal ASAP.

  10. Jick - Mar 19, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I was hoping the Padres would trade Bell to the Dodgers last season, intra-division trading be damned. If they can get anything close from the Twins what the Orioles got for Sherrill, it’ll be a good deal. It won’t leave much of a team behind here in San Diego, but there’s no real point to having a good closer on a lousy team, anyway.

  11. Zack - Mar 19, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Swarzak, Manship, Hughes, and maybe Tosoni I’d be okay with. But trading away Slama or Delaney for another reliever seems counterintuitive. Next year the Twins likely won’t have Guerrier, Rauch, Crain, or Condrey. And Nathan is no sure thing. I’d rather have two good arms for the next 6 years than one arm for two at 10 times the cost.

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