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Report: Phillies are front-runners for Padres relievers Heath Bell or Mike Adams

Jul 15, 2011, 3:15 PM EDT

Heath Bell

As further evidence that the Phillies have reached “Yankees of the National League” status and will now be linked to every big-name player being shopped, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that “they have been considered frontrunner to land a San Diego reliever.”

Heath Bell is the Padres’ closer and biggest name in the bullpen, but setup man Mike Adams might actually be San Diego’s best reliever. And while Bell is an impending free agent making a bunch of money Adams is relatively cheap and under team control for 2012. In other words, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would be smart to make a play for Adams before he pays a premium for Bell.

Olney notes that Chad Qualls is another Padres reliever who could be on the Phillies’ radar, although he’s more of a solid middle man than late-inning weapon like Adams or Bell. Ryan Madson returned from the disabled list today, allowing the Phillies to push fill-in closer Antonio Bastardo back into a setup role, but apparently with Brad Lidge still on the DL and Jose Contreras‘ status uncertain Amaro is pushing for more bullpen help.

Earlier this week Padres GM Jed Hoyer replied “at this point right now I’m not certain” when asked whether Bell will be traded, but the All-Star closer still being in San Diego after July 31 is looking more and more unlikely.

  1. shaggylocks - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    When I saw the headline I was all ready to comment about how the Phillies are becoming the Yankees of the National League, but then I saw that you beat me to it. In your first sentence. Well, I guess it’s official, then. Soon people will be referring to the Yankees as the Phillies of the American League.

    • CJ - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      I’ll get thumbs down for this by Phils, Sox and Yankees fans alike but here it goes:

      I really don’t buy this argument. The Phillies have doubled (yes, doubled) their payroll in about 4-5 years, becuase they had a wealth of talent all come up at the same time (Utley, Rollins, Howard, Hamels, etc.) and hit the lottery on a couple guys the rest of the league gave up on in Werth and Victorino. They won the world series without any real major acquistions outside of Ibanez and Lidge who very well could be considered more in the “scrap heap” category at the time of the acquistion. (If you’re counting Moyer, Blanton… I say, really?).

      In any event, it’s my opinion–even as an avid Phils fan– that the payroll grew in order to keep the current window of opportunity open as long as possible. If the Phillies hadn’t won a world series, they wouldn’t be at a 175 million payroll right now. It’s not like owndership changed hands the new guys are more willing to spend. The Phillies are enjoying unprecedented success, and, as a result are seeing unprecedented profit even with the increased payroll. Once their stars get up in years, you can expect the payroll to contract…probably not back to where it was 4-5 years ago, but probably down to the 125-140 range would be a reasonable expectation.

      The only possible exception I could see is if they keep all of their current top prospects projected to replace key contributors up in years like Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Ibanez, Ruiz, Polanco, etc. If they strike gold with the Baby Aces, Valle, and others than it’s possible they’ll continue to win in spite of a lesser payroll, or continue to spend a little more as long as they have a chance at a world series with largely homegrown talent.

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        CJ,

        I see what you are saying. But the reality is that the Phillies are an unstoppable machine now. The streams of money will continue to roll in and the Phillies will always be putting a quality product on the field. This organization knows what they are doing. I’m sure they have prepared for every possible future senario.

      • CJ - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        biceps,

        color me skeptical, I guess. I just remember how this same ownership group used to be up until ’08 and I don’t think their values have changed much…money comes first and if they win it’s a bonus. It’s just that now Rube has some convinced that, for now at least, they have a chance at becoming a dynasty and if they spend just a little bit more, the ROI would be well worth it.

        Once the next wave of kids come up, they *could* cut back save tens of millions and the fans would still come in droves for a couple years before they realize things are back to the status quo, and in that span they’ll make make a crapload as well. That’s just what I expect as long as this ownership group is in control.

        If they get even smarter and sell the team for a huge profit in the middle of this run, then I’ll gladly retract this, but unless and until that happens, I just don’t see a different outcome. I sure hope I’m wrong though.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:18 PM

        I think the point was that every trade candidate and free agent gets linked to the Yankees in the press. Now they are all getting liked to the Phillies.

        The rest of the stuff you mention should be between Phillies fans and their therapists.

      • macjacmccoy - Jul 15, 2011 at 6:25 PM

        They didnt win the world series with Ibanez. They got him a year later. They won the world series with Pat Burrell another home grown taletn

  2. halladaysbiceps - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    “Heath Bell or Mike Adams, soon, you will be one of us.”

    -Emperor Amaro Jr.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM

      Rube up to his Jedi mind tricks again. I say go for Adams, NinJr. While it would be cool to have Bell, money and control, as well as having two closers already in the fold, should guide this deal.

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      According to my sources, the latest rumor is that the Phillies have offered Brian Bocock and a player to be named later for Heath Bell.

      • mss16 - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM

        Too bad Ed Wade doesn’t work for San Diego too, he would do that deal and kick in some salary help for the Phils.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        But Amaro’s MO has been to get players he can control for longer than the current season.

      • halladaysbiceps - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:57 PM

        Hair,

        Hence why they are only offering up Bocock, because Bell will be a rental player.

    • bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 9:19 PM

      I like the concept, but a Jedi Mind Trick would go something more like this (on video chat):

      Jed Hoyer: Rube’Wan, we appreciate the Phillies interest, but I’m not sure we’re ready to deal Bell, Adams or Headley. But if we do, we’ll be seeking close to major league ready talent.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: First, do you mind if I record this session?

      Jed Hoyer: Actually, Theo taught me to avoid that.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: (as he motions his hand slowly across Hoyer’s screen) You don’t need to listen to Theo’s advice.

      Jed Hoyer: Actually, I don’t need to listen to Theo.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: (hand motion again) It’s OK that I record the session.

      Jed Hoyer: It’s OK if for you to record this session.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: (another hand motion, now recording) You don’t need major league talent in return for Bell, Adams and Headley.

      Hoyer: We don’t need major league talent for Bell, Adams and Headley.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: You will trade Bell, Adams and Headley to the Phillies for a future 13th Round Pick and a PTBNL.

      Hoyer: I’ll trade you Bell Adams and Headley to the Phillies for a 13th Round Pick and a PTBNL.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: You will fax the transaction form to the Commissioners Office now.

      Jed Hoyer: I have just faxed the completed transaction to the Commissioners Office.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: We have no further business.

      Jed Hoyer: We have no further business.

      Rube’Wan Kenmauro: Move along.

      Jed Hoyer: Move along.

  3. Jonny 5 - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Gillick, who is now a senior advisor for the Phillies, would like to see Philadelphia add a right-handed bat this summer. Though doing so is not imperative, it’s “very important.”

    Just thought I’d add that. Because when Gillick speaks, Amaro listens.

    Maybe they can grab Maybin and an arm in another multi-player deal?

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      Gillick’s EF Hutton, now?

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        Like Hutton, but better.

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

      Here’s the deal. Ruben will strike quick as a fox and sly like a cheetah to obtain Bell or Adams in the next couple of days.

      Then, he will have the remainder of the time (about a week and a half) to devote time to a right-handed bat.

    • jeffhink - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:11 PM

      Maybin isn’t an upgrade from anything on this roster. His numbers vs. lefties are good but he doesn’t provide any power.

  4. SmackSaw - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    In a perfect baseball world, the Phillies behave the way the Dodgers should be behaving. They should be competing for players like the Yankees and Red Sox. I hate Frank McCourt more than I hate Bungling Bud.

  5. Utley's Hair - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Well, I’m thinking I can kiss my afternoon goodbye now. Thanks, Aaron.

  6. bjavie - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Whoa! Phillies are the Yankees of the National League??? Really??? Don’t the Yankees over pay for every free agent out there and that’s how they get the good players? The Phils simply make smart trades which means they use their own talent to aquire better players.

    As far as free agents – if the Phils were the Yankess of the NL they would have outbid themselves to get Cliff Lee.

    • foreverchipper10 - Jul 15, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      Cliff Lee wanted to go to Philly so they needn’t overpay to assure they got him.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I don’t know. I would rather have Adams because he is cheaper but what are the Padres asking for? I don’t want to see the Phillies mortgage their future for a bullpen arm.

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      Brian Bocock and a player to be named later, I believe.

  8. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Line-up for tonight:
    Rollins, Martinez, Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Chooch, Brown, Mayberry Jr., Worley

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM

      No Valdez? Hmm…

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        Ride Mike Martinez so long as he keeps getting hits!!

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        Probably because Valdez is a terrible at 3rd and can’t hit….whereas Martinez can actually play 3rd and can’t hit. Also, as you know, Valdez is a double play machine. Can’t have him batting 2nd. Just can’t.

  9. Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    How much is Ryan Ludwick making as a Padre?? I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name linked in with Bell/Adams if he can be had for somewhat cheap.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      7 million/season. Free agent after the season.

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        Man, what did he do to deserve 7 mil a season? Ha. Still for a half year rental I’m sure the Padres would love to trade this guy… and he is a pretty potent right handed bat the Phils could use.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        Hit nearly hit 40 homers that one year. I’m not sold on Ludwick at all. I just looked up his home/road splits thinking that maybe playing in San Diego was a problem, but his home stats are on par with his road stats. Furthermore, he isn’t exactly crushing left handed pitchers. In my opinion, the more prudent field player target from the Padres is Chase Headley. He can play 3rd base and the outfield. He doesn’t really hit much for power, but gets a lot of doubles and has a OPS decently higher than Ludwick. Furthermore, although arbitration eligible, won’t be a free agent for several more seasons. Switch hitter too.

      • CJ - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        Headley, now there’s a name I hadn’t thought of. Good work by the dr. I’m sure they’d have to pay through the nose for Headley and Adams, but I’d be happy with that haul, provided the cost of course is at least somewhat within reason.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        I think it would cost the Phillies Cosart, Jiwan James, Michael Schwimmer, and a throw in prospect.

      • CJ - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        yep…that’d be paying through the nose alright. James and Cosart in the same deal would be hard to swallow.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM

        I know…of course it could be less, that is just my gut feeling. I was reading earlier that the Padres would move Adams for only an elite prospect…hence Cosart.

      • bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        The problem with Headley is, he ain’t going nowhere.

        He’s the Padres most productive hitter and he’s under team control until 2015.

        BTW, he’s hitting .339 with an .846 OPS in Away games this season. But he’s likely benefiting from a high BABIP (.425 away and .381 overall).

    • spudchukar - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      PhiHo, gotta agree. Both Ludwig and Bell in the same deal makes a lot of sense. Phils will have to ante up, but could solve both problems in one deal. One drawback, Ludwick’s numbers vs. lefties, haven’t always been great.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

        Much, much rather see Adams and Headley. They are simply better and cheaper than Ludwick and Bell.

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM

        Headley would be great… but isn’t he a fan favorite / somewhat of the “face” of the Padres. I might be saying this only because before the season started and someone were to ask me, name a guy who plays offense for the Padres: the only name I could give would be Headley’s.

        But, if he’s expendable… he would be key. Hell I’d rather them get Headley over Adams/Bell!

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        I have no idea if he is on the block or not. I was just throwing his name out there because I think he could help the Phillies in multiple areas.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:31 PM

        Adrian Gonzalez was the face of the Friars for the last while or so, wasn’t he? That didn’t stop them.

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        True… but the writing was on the wall that Gonzo deserved to get paid and deserved to be on a winning team… so the likelihood of him resigning with the Padres was slim… hence the trade to get something out of him.

        I don’t think Headley is in that kind of situation, but I could be wrong.

      • spudchukar - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        Adams I can see, but no way the Pads give up Headley when they are only paying him 2.5 mil, and he doesn’t become a free agent until 2015

      • bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        Utley’s Hair,

        Gonzo would have been a Free Agent after this year, and Hoyer wanted a better catch than the uncertainty of 2 First Round picks as compensation.

        Obviously there’s no comparison between AGon an Headley, and as I noted above, as the Padres most productive hitter, Headley is under control until 2015, so he isn’t likely to be traded any time soon.

  10. bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that “they have been considered frontrunner to land a San Diego reliever.”

    “BY WHO are the Phillies considered to be THE frontrunner to land Bell?” – that would be my first question to Buster Olney. Most likely Philadelphia area sports writers, that’s who.

    I’m tired of these fictitious trade leaderboards.

    BTW: here a nugget o advice to Amaro – Pitching really isn’t your problem. A complementary guy to add depth to your bullpen I can understand. But you need to find a little more reliability on your offense. Remember how Red Auerbach was roundly criticized for letting the Original Big Three age disgracefully without getting anything for them? Yeah, well you aren’t nearly as good as Red was and your Big Three on offense are slowly dying before your eyes.

    • CJ - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      To a degree, a agree with you in that with the emergence of Stutes and Bastardo and the return of Madson, they need of bullpen help isn’t nearly as prounounced as it once was. If Lidge comes back healthy then what are they really going to do with a bullpen that deep? If not like their starters can only go 6 innings or something.

      However, with that said, this is a rumor that’s been circulating for some time. This isn’t breaking news from Buster today, it’s been going on for weeks. This is probably the most pronounced it’s gotten though, I’ll admit that.

      As I and others have said on a different thread earlier today, I’m more worried about Polanco’s injury than the bullpen situation. A righthand bat that can play 3rd and potentially bat 5th IMHO is the bigger need. If he can also play the outfield corners if/when Polanco comes back (like a Michael Young), that would be a huge bonus.

  11. bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    CJ,

    I guess my main point is the rumor is only pronounced because its a slow news day and Buster Olney verbalized it on the Worldwide Feeder. Love the daily headlines blog he does though.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with regard to the Phillies more immediate and pronounced offensive needs. And I agree, while Polanco is nothing to watch offensively anymore, missing his defense at 3B adds an uncertainty factor.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      I actually think that Martinez will be good defensively. Won’t make up for his poor/non existent offense though. I know Michael Young can hit, but he is a terrible defensive player. I was reading this article earlier that rated the worst defensive seasons by a player in the last 30-40 years. Michael young had 2 in the top 10. I’m not a big sabermetric guy, but that does speak volumes about his defense. Couple that with the fact that he hasn’t really played in the field this season and I would foresee massive problems.

      • bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 5:58 PM

        Doc,

        I believe David Ortiz plays a better 1B than Michael Young (so forget 3B), but if the Phillies can find a way to add his bat that make sense, they MUST do it.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 6:29 PM

        I agree, the guy is a professional hitter. Where would you play him though? Personally, I have absolutely no idea where they would play him if such a deal would happen.

      • bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Ya know I just looked it up . . . his Range Factor at 3B the last two seasons has been abysmal (you’d be giving up hits to balls hit where he can’t get to). And last year his FP% was bad, but 2009 it was actually about average.

        He has never played a game in the OF, and perhaps the Rangers tried hitting him some fly balls to see ho he did, but if he were the Phillies best option, then I don’t see why they couldn’t alternate him between a corner OF position and a couple of starts at 3B each week.

        I dunno, there may be better fits out there to pursue.

  12. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Good news on Oswalt: Rosenthal is reporting that Oswalt resumed workouts today with no pain in his back. Bullpen early next week. If all goes well, rehab assignment in 10 days.

    • Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      Kendrick back to the pen… solves the long reliever situation… and the need for bullpen help diminishes even more… I’d be a little disappointed if they got Bell/Adams and had to give up more than what was needed.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        Also, Contreas’ elbow not hurt worse then originally thought, confirmed by second opinion. So, season/career may not be over for Jose. Has to somewhat alter their thinking. However, also now hearing a rumor and keep in mind an unverified rumor that has Singleton and unnamed pitcher for Adams.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 8:33 PM

      I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but Singleton is not in the line-up for Clearwater tonight. He was initially in the line-up and was pulled.

  13. schmedley69 - Jul 15, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Pretty soon they’re gonna start calling the Yankees the Phillies of the American League.

    • bigleagues - Jul 15, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      Philadelphia: “It’s like a baby New York”

      Worst line ever in an airline commercial, courtesy Southwest Airlines.

  14. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 15, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Once again, I don’t know how Mayberry Jr. gets sent down when Victorino comes off the DL. He is flat out raking.

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