Of course, Bell can choose to stay with the Padres by accepting
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.