Bell is gone. How can the Padres replace him? Image Courtesy of espn.go.com

Where Do the Padres Go Now at Closer?


As all of you Padres fans already know, Heath Bell will no longer be the Padres’ Closer.  The 3x All Star that had manned the full-time Closer role for the Padres for the last 3 seasons has left for Miami, and now the Padres will be on the look-out for his replacement in 2012.

At this point, there are many things that the Padres can do now that they have unloaded Bell’s salary and the Padres have a few different options in their search to find Bell’s replacement.  After listening to Analysts at MLB Network discussing the closer market and the sorts of player that the Padres can target at this point, I thought it would make a nice post and discussion topic.  Hit the “Continue Reading” button for more:

At this point, the Padres are really faced with 3 viable options to replace Bell:

1.  The Padres can look for an in-house candidate like Luke Gregerson, pursue other setup men in Free Agency (also gone is Mike Adams), and/or look into their own organization to fill Gregerson’s old role.  Cost effective: yes, however questions would surround whether or not Gregerson could be “the guy” in the 9th inning for the Padres.  Moreover, they might have to dedicate quite a bit of money if they seek setup men outside the organization.

2. San Diego could look to trade for closers such as Huston Street or Andrew Bailey.  The Padres would be getting a great guy to close games, but at what cost?  They might have to give up a Chase Headley as Justin alluded to, and they might have to pay Street, Bailey, or another solid Closer bucks like Bell to keep him around.

3. The Padres could fill the role with a 1-2 year stop-gap like the Twins’ Matt Capps.  As Jeff Nelson discussed in the video, Capps could give the Padres 1-2 years at a nice price and then parlay that into a deal somewhere else.  Granted the Padres wouldn’t be solving the problem long term, but they wouldn’t have to dedicate the type of money to Capps as they would to Bell, Street, or Bailey.

Personally, I’m glad they unloaded Bell’s contract but not Bell the person/player.  I don’t however think that type of money should be invested in a position that is only valuable when the team has actual leads to protect.  I hope San Diego explores any and all available outside options for now and they have plenty of time to do it.

To me, options 1 and 3 seem the best.  The Padres need leads to protect in the 9th inning so a Closer can shut the door.  They can’t do it without bats, and this money they saved from letting Bell walk, and the possible unloading of Hudson and Bartlett could help land a couple guys in San Diego that can hit.  To me Gregerson, an in-house guy, or even an inexpensive F.A. like Capps should do enough in a rebuilding 2012 season.

So readers, what do you think the Padres should do?  Give me your answers in the Comments section below.

 

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  • ChickenFriars

    Dom, I agree. The Padres don’t need to be spending big money on a closer. I like option one. I’ve always thought closers can be developed from available bullpen arms. Heck, when Bell was brought over from the Mets, the Padres could not have known he would become their closer.

  • Sammy

    I agree with both of you. Option 1 makes the most sense. A 91-loss team doesn’t need a closer; it needs to build a winner. What is the point of having someone save 40 of your wins if you’re going to lose 90, because last place is last place regardless of loss totals. Build from within and if that doesn’t work AND you build a winner otherwise, then go out and find a closer.

  • ChickenFriars

    @Sammy great point. While 40 out of 71 wins might be a good save percentage, I’ll take 25 saves and 90 wins.