Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bell complications

Ken Rosenthal of makes a good case for why the Padres should trade Heath Bell this month. In sum, it's the least undesirable of a raft of undesirable options. Read the story. Rosenthal games out the scenarios with aplomb. This blog doesn't disagree with Ken's conclusion, but for all the ground Ken covered, there's one option he didn't mention. It's a radical option, and it's one the Padres should consider. If the Padres decide to keep Bell into the offseason, they could make it known to Bell that if they offer him arbitration and he accepts it, they will consider releasing him should an arbitrator sets a salary that would be budget unfriendly. Yes, that would take spine. On top of being an All-Star closer, the Loveable Kook is a fan friendly guy (and one of this blog's favorite talkers of baseball). To many of their fans, the Padres would come off as cold and puny if they released Bell post-arbitration. It is, however, another potential move in the chess match. Sometimes the threat of a move is more effective than the move itself.

In May, this blog saw Bell being in another team's uniform by now. Did the Strategic Thinkers goof by not dealing him? Perhaps. We'll know more later. Leading up to the deadline, many prospective buyers may have doubted that Bell's heart would be in it. Bell loves being a Padre -- what pitcher doesn't? -- and he  wants to stay close to his wife, his four children and his father, who has cancer. The Doogster may want to call Angels GM Tony Reagins. As this blog wrote last month, here's why the Angels could make sense for a Bell trade. But now that it's August, it's a lot more complicated.

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