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Heath Bell and the Padres are talking contract extension

Mar 23, 2011, 1:19 PM EDT

Heath Bell, Kyle Blanks, Jenny Cavnar AP

Heath Bell has repeatedly made it very clear that he wants to stay in San Diego, saying that signing a long-term deal with the Padres “would be a dream” and then revealing that he’d “definitely take less” to get something done.

Throughout all that the Padres’ interest in actually committing to an expensive closer into his mid-30s was unclear, but now Barry Bloom of reports that Bell’s “agents had a productive meeting last week with general manager Jed Hoyer about a contract extension.”

Bell told Bloom that he’s looking for a three-year deal, presumably for no less per season than the $7.5 million he’s earning now. Something in the $25-30 million range should get it done, but if not the Padres may look to trade the impending free agent if they fall out of contention by July 31.

Mariano Rivera is the highest-paid closer at $15 million, and Brad Lidge, Francisco Rodriguez, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, and Francisco Cordero are all earning more than $10 million this season. Since taking over for Trevor Hoffman two seasons ago Bell leads baseball with 89 saves and ranks seventh among all relievers with a 2.32 ERA, so he certainly deserves to be paid like an elite closer.

  1. icanspeel - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    For an organization that just traded away Adrian Gonzalez I think it’d be smart from a PR aspect to sign him to a deal. He should have at least 3 good years in him and even if he doesn’t it makes a statement that the Padres will keep players and not just trade them away if the price is right.

    • b7p19 - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      Signing a closer for $10 million a year when your payroll is $40 million a year is a bad move. As a Padres fan and Heath Bell fan I say take stock of your teams chances in mid-July and then either trade him or let him walk at the end of the year. Option one gets you 1 prospect and 1 or 2 fringe guys. Option two gets you two draft choices. Both better than giving up 25% of your payroll for a guy that will play 5% of your innings.

      • icanspeel - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        I partially agree with that comment, but if he can have an impact like he has the last 2 years it is worth the money if the price is right. 12-5 with 89/98 saves to me is fairly impressive and since the Padres play small ball they rely on on winning 1-2 run games. But once again only if the price is right.. if he wants TOO much then it’s not worth it.

  2. baseballisboring - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    meh…really makes no sense to hang on to him. get a couple prospects.

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