Monday, January 10, 2011

What does Bartlett & Hudson contracts mean for Bell?

Monday January 10, 2011

If the multi-year contracts of Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett are any indication, Jed Hoyer is putting together a Padres team for a 2 year run at the playoffs. That would be a real good sign for Heath Bell signing a multi-year contract too.

Bell is reportedly asking for a 3 year deal in the $20-21 million range. Like the contracts for Hudson and Bartlett that deal would probably be structured as a 2 year deal with a mutual option or vesting option for a 3rd year.

If the Padres can get Bell to agree to a below market 1st year as they did with Bartlett and Hudson, then the Padres would have further payroll flexibility to go out and spend on another starter or left handed bat off the bench or whatever Hoyer feels the team needs.

Even at the $7 million he is expected to receive in arbitration, Bell is a good value.

For the past two seasons Bell has been an elite closer recording the most saves in baseball. His FIP is the lowest in the game amongst relievers with 120+ IP over that period, his xFIP & ERA are 5th in baseball and only Carlos Marmol gave up less HR per 9.

In 2010 Bell gave up just 1 home run in 70+ innings. He had a 2.05 FIP and a 1.93 ERA. In other words his ballpark & defense had little effect on his effectiveness as a pitcher.

Keeping Bell in the fold for 2 years gives the young pitchers on the staff an incredible boost of confidence. They don't HAVE to go 9 perfect innings to win the game. All they have to do is give 6-7 good innings every time out and the bullpen will do the rest.

Bell could probably be signed for a similar amount to the contracts we are seeing handed out for setup men.

Comparatively Bell is a bargain.

Add to that the fact that if the Padres do sign Bell to a team friendly multi-year deal that is being tossed around (3yrs/$20-$21 million) it actually makes him MORE valuable as a trade piece at the deadline if the Padres are not in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Signing Bell, an elite closer, to a multi-year deal is a no lose proposition for the Padres.


  1. Wow. What a refreshing contrast to the bulk of bloggers saying Bell should be traded, if not before the season, then definitely at the trade deadline. You're also the first to state that Jed is making moves to keep the team contending, and not "blowing up" the Padres, as one name-brand writer has claimed.

    The consensus seems to be that last year was a fluke and the Padres are going to be better than Arizona, and that's it - 4th place. What do you think Jed sees in the team that makes him think the Padres can be contenders the next couple years?

    Larry Faria
    Ocean Beach

  2. Hoyer has signed 2 key players to two year contracts and brought in a veteran pitcher in Harang.

    The team is very young like last season, when they werent expected to contend, and lost Gonzalez to a trade.

    For 2011 they are still built around speed, defense and pitching and isnt expected to contend in 2011, but Hoyer spent the money to lock up veterans guys that are better offensively and defensively than the players they replace. He signed them to contracts that will still be easily tradable in the off season if the Padres don't contend.

    That points to the fact that Hoyer is expecting similar offensive and defensive production from this Padres team in 2011 that we saw in 2010.

    Combine that with fact Headley and Adams will get really expensive by 2013(years 3 and 4 of arbitraiotn respectively), and Bell & Ludwick will undoubtedly be gone as free agents.

    They have to take a shot at winning in 2011.

    If they contend in 2011 and the payroll continues to increase, then they may have one more shot in 2012 before they have to retool.