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Monday July 25, 2011 7:17 pm

Heath Bell trade will set market value for league’s relievers




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB, Trades

Heath BellHeath Bell looks like one of the most attractive players who may be available at this year’s non-waiver trade deadline. Reports are coming out of most cities saying that team so-and-so has inquired about Bell, but does that mean San Diego Padres GM Jed Hoyer is likely to trade him? Not necessarily. Many GMs will call Hoyer simply to find out the asking price for Bell, many of whom have no interest in actually putting together a deal.

 

Simply knowing what Bell can go for sets the market price for other relievers available throughout the league. Teams like Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays, who have several relievers available for trade would like to know what their players are worth in relation to Bell. If the “1” guy is worth “X,” then the “1A” guys are worth “Y,” and so on. Of course, the actual worth of many relievers won’t be determined until somebody other than Francisco Rodriguez gets traded for something more than a salary dump.

Meanwhile, Bell himself understands the situation. He’s handling the trade rumors talk like a professional and has even thinks there’s a good chance he’ll be dealt. But that will only happen if the Padres find a suitable fit. In a year where the Padres are at serious risk of finishing a distant last in their division, they’ll be looking to get multiple strong players back to start rebuilding the roster.

When trying to figure out where Bell may land, assume off the bat that only teams in a playoff hunt will be willing to part with the prospects to acquire a closer that will become a free agent in three months. The hefty asking price for Bell suggests that only teams with strong minor league systems will actually have a chance at completing a deal. The Rangers and Phillies seem to have the best prospects, but Bell going to teams like the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, or Los Angeles Angels will certainly make those divisional races more interesting down the stretch.

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