Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hoyer and Bell

Jed Hoyer's decision to hold Heath Bell past the trade deadline is looking better by the day. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports the new labor pact makes Bell a "modified" Type A free agent. In other words, good for the Padres, good for Bell. The club still stands to get draft pick compensation if Bell declines arbitration. Bell wins because bidders likely will be more numerous than under the old labor terms, as the signing club will not forfeit a draft pick.

Of course, Bell can choose to stay with the Padres by accepting declining arbitration. In doing so, the Loveable Kook would likely spurn a giant pile of cash (and further affirm his nickname).

As the Padres mulled Bell's future four months ago, what advance knowledge of the CBA did they glean? I put that question to Hoyer today. Here's what he said:

"We checked with MLB several times to make sure the compensation system wouldn't be eliminated after the 2011 season. The value of the picks was the crux of our decision not to trade him in July or August. In our minds (and many people were involved in the decision), we never were offered anything all that close to the value of the draft picks in return.

"I think the process was very thoughtful," Hoyer said, "and I hope the Padres get the draft pick value that the club deserves. And if Heath chooses to accept arbitration, the teams retains the value of the player for another season. Both outcomes are positive for San Diego."

In short, the new CBA makes it even more likely that Bell will be playing elsewhere in 2012.

If Bell signs with another team, the Padres will publicly thank him. They'll acknowledge that, hey, Heath commanded more money elsewhere than "made sense" for their $54 million payroll. The economics, indeed, will give them ample public relations cover. But I think it'd be the outcome they've wanted for some time.


  1. I think you meant "accepting" arbitration in the second paragraph, unless I really don't understand how free agent compensation works. :)