We continue our look at possible trade pieces for the Rangers this week with Heath Bell. Texas has been interested in the hard-throwing closer for a while now and has the prospects to make a deal.
Bell, 33, has a 2.40 ERA in 41 1/3 innings pitched and has 29 saves in 31 opportunities with 31 strikeouts and 16 walks.
A few things to know about Bell:
1. He said at the All-Star Game that he would be willing to setup for any team that trades for him this season. His contract is up after this season and he wants to return to the closer role then. But he knows Texas is very interested in him and he would provide some critical late-inning help.
2. Like so many players right now, the price for Bell is reportedly high. That's not a surprise. San Diego knows he's a valueable commodity. But with other relievers on the market, the price might drop by this weekend. The Rangers have enough in their system that maybe they could structure a deal that includes some mid-tier prospects and make it more of a package of quantity over the top-echelon piece. We'll see.
3. Bell is likely to be a Type A free agent this offseason, which means that if the Rangers acquire him and he signs elsewhere for 2012, the club would get two compensatory picks in next year's draft. That certainly increases Bell's value.
4. Bell talks about having fun and playing for a winner. That's the Rangers. He seems like someone who would fit in very well in the Rangers' clubhouse. If he enjoys himself and helps the Rangers to another memorable playoff run, maybe that gives the club a better chance at re-signing him. And say what you want about the Cliff Lee offseason, but the fact that he had so much fun with that team helped the Rangers' cause (and their willingness to spend top dollar...of course, he chose Philadelphia in the end).
5. Bell could slide into that primary eighth-inning setup role and be important insurance should something happen to closer Neftali Feliz. And that would allow manager Ron Washington to put Mark Lowe in the seventh inning, helping the overall pen.