It’s no secret that Padres closer Heath Bell is likely to be moved within the next few days if not hours. The question for Padres fans then becomes, “Well, where will he go and what will we get back?”
Where will he end up going? There are multiple teams that could use his services either as a closer or set up man but the front runners as of this posting appear to be the Rangers, Phillies, and Angels, with the Yankees maybe lurking in the weeds.
What do those teams have to offer? It varies.
- The Phillies who could desperately use him in the closers role have a lot of prospects in the lower levels, especially seemingly their A affiliate Clearwater. There are two players however that could be viewed as ready for MLB action. The first of course is Dominic Brown who is currently in the big leagues with the Phils, posting average numbers while basically platooning against left handed pitching. The other is RHP Justin De Fratus, who has been putting up solid numbers out of the pen at AA & AAA. This could be an interesting trade partner for the Pads especially if Ryan Ludwick were included to help out the hole they’ve had in right field most of the season. Sending over two significant pieces could help pry away some ready now and down the road talent.
- Texas needs a lot of bullpen help having blown 13 of 36 save chances already this season. They could use Bell and set up man Mike Adams, and have several young, close ready arms to offer in return. Martin Perez, Robbie Erlin, and Neil Ramirez have all broken out this season at AA & AAA. Other names being mentioned include pitchers Joseph Wieland (AA), Tanner Scheppers (AA), Robert Ross (A), and Barret Loux (A). They also have in their lower ranks 18 year old shortstop Jurickson Profar who is highly touted by scouts as a future impact player, but the Rangers probably won’t part with him for a 2 month rental in Bell, but who knows what mix of prospects would be packaged if Adams or Ludwick is included in the deal as well?
- The Angels need a third baseman more that anything else, but with few if any options available in that department (thanks to Aramis Ramirez’s refusal to waive his no-trade clause, and Twins claim to be hanging on to Cuddyer), the halos will likely look to strengthen their bullpen. Garrett Richards (AA) was ranked the 6th best prospect in their system and is 11-1 so far this season. Hank Conger is projected to be the Angels everyday catcher of the future, despite struggling with the bat in his call up earlier this year. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs put up solid numbers in A ball and is now proving himself in AA. Maybe the Angels have something the Pads would want in return for established bullpen help.
With the Rangers losing out on the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes to the Giants, it is even more likely that they will be going after Heath hard. Along with Bell, Mike Adams, and Ryan Ludwick it is very possible that Aaron Harang and Chad Qualls could also have new teams within the next few days. Jed Hoyer has said that the Padres will make trades before the season is over, and as he said, “I think we should. We don’t have the talent base here that we need 2 have in order to be successful”. Hopefully he gets back from these imminent deals what the Padres need to solidify their future.