Simply typing the title of this article makes me sick, but the move mentioned in said title needs to be made. I’ve always liked Heath Bell and I’m glad that I got to watch him play in his prime here in San Diego. He made a name for himself in the city that he is so fond of, and we should all be grateful that he stuck around for as long as he did. However, questions have begun to swirl on whether or not Bell will be a part of the Padres 2012 Opening Day roster. According to this article on the Padres website, what the Padres do with Bell is probably the biggest question the franchise will face this off-season, and whether or not they move Bell will inherently affect any and all moves the Padres make. So why do I think the Padres aren’t in dire straits if Bell refuses arbitration/the Padres don’t offer it to him? Hit that “Continue Reading” button to find out now:
To me, this whole situation boils down to money, and what the Padres actually can get out of Heath Bell. Sure, it’d be nice for Bell to stay and keep saving games for the Padres out of the bullpen. However, what does it matter if your team’s closer is “lights out” and the team only wins 70-80 games per season? It’s the same thing we went through with Trevor Hoffman in terms of a guy dominating the 9th inning for a last place team. For a team that will have close to a $55 million dollar payroll, doling out more than 1/7th of it on one player that only plays one inning per night (if the team is even winning) is somewhat careless and not financially sound. A great Closer is something that every team wants to have, there’s no doubt. Yet if a team’s anemic offense (like the Padres) scores only 3 runs per game and can’t take a lead in the 9th inning, the idea of a guy “closing” the game for said team is inherently moot.
The task of finding a Closer is difficult, I understand. Yet the Padres could use the money they saved on Bell to go out and find a younger and cheaper replacement, and still have money left over to dedicate to other moves and upgrades to their team. This is Padres team that has holes all over the diamond except for really their Pitching Staff, CF, 3B, and 1B. Money needs to be dedicated to making moves for players that can help their ball-club on a daily basis.
As for the other positives if Bell decides not to accept the arbitration the Padres offer, San Diego will be given two 1st Round compensatory picks in the 2012 Draft. Sure, Picks in the M.L.B. Draft aren’t as coveted and pan out quite as often as the ones in the N.F.L., but it can’t hurt for San Diego to take extra shots at finding prospects can it?
Honestly, Bell leaving town is a move that will be beneficial to both parties. Bell can accept more money and go to a contending team now, while the Padres can use this move to help their entire ball-club that is on a budget. I’m not at all happy that one of the team’s most beloved players needs to leave town. Yet I as a fan root for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back of it. And in my personal opinion, Bell leaving via Free Agency is the best option that we Padres fans can root for as the franchise goes through yet another rebuilding season.
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