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Heath Bell says signing long-term deal with Padres “would be my dream”

Jan 7, 2011, 11:17 AM EST

Heath Bell

Once the Padres traded Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox with one season remaining on his contract the assumption has been that fellow impending free agent Heath Bell isn’t long for San Diego either, but yesterday the closer told Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that signing a long-term extension “would be my dream.”

Whether or not the Padres have room in their budget for a $10 million-per-season closer or are even interested in making a multi-year commitment to a 33-year-old reliever is unclear, but Bell left no doubt that he wants to remain in San Diego:

This next contract is going to be very important to my family. I’m not 27 or 28 when I become eligible for free agency like Adrian. I have to think about this contract. But I also want to stay in San Diego. My family loves it here. I love it here. I’d love to get something done with the Padres that benefits everyone. Right now, I honestly don’t know what I am asking or what the Padres are offering. I don’t know the numbers, but I know I want to stay with the Padres.

Bell is set to make around $7 million this season via the arbitration process, and Center speculates that an extension “would easily top $20 million” for three years. General manager Jed Hoyer indicated that he’s had some discussions with Bell’s agent, but the talks don’t sound very far along.

Since joining the Padres in 2007 Bell has a 2.54 ERA and 338 strikeouts in 311 innings, including 89 saves in two seasons since replacing Trevor Hoffman as closer. If the Padres fall out of contention, expect Bell to be among the most sought after players at the trading deadline.

  1. apbaguy - Jan 7, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    It’s my dream to stay in San Diego long term also, but so far, 3 days has been about the max. Good luck to Heath. But every time I hear a player say that, Jason’s blog title comes to mind, because the next quote you get is all too often about how the player was “disrespected” by an offer deemed too low by his agent. It is completely within Heath’s power if he stays in SD or not. Tony Gwynn sucked up the hometown discount for years. Gwynn realized that a couple of million per year off a multi-million dollar deal still is fabulous money to have while living in a fabulous city. Will Heath follow suit?

  2. BC - Jan 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Yeah, and having a wild, passionate affair with Drew Barrymore is my dream, but I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon either. Pack the bags and punch your ticket, Heath.

    • Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Jan 7, 2011 at 4:19 PM

      Drew Barrymore? Stop swinging for doubles and aim for the fences.

  3. uyf1950 - Jan 7, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    He’s probably going to get somewhere around $7M+ in arbitration this year. He becomes a FA in 2012. He will be 34 years old at the end of the 2011 season. Even if he has a half way decent year in 2011 he’ll command around $9 or 10M per as a FA for 2 years with possibly a 3rd year team option. Is that something the Padres are likely to afford?

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