The major league baseball trade deadline is quickly approaching and any team that is looking for back-end relief help should look no further than Padres closer Heath Bell. While he doesn’t capture the same headlines as some of the other closers, he is a hidden gem in San Diego and could be a hot commodity in the coming weeks. Right now the Padres are in last place in their division, they have become one of baseball’s worst teams, and could be looking to deal to start their rebuilding process. Bell is coming off back-to-back seasons of 40 plus saves and is already 26 of 28 in those situations this season. The Padres righty could be just the guy to give that pennant contender the extra push they need to become a World Series contender.
Heath Bell joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to talk about how tough it is for him to handle all the trade rumors, if he feels unwanted because of these trade rumors, whether or not there has been a long-term off to keep him in San Diego, if his agent has had any talks with the Padres about a new deal, and if he would be willing to take a hometown discount.
How tough it is for him to handle all these trade rumors:
“It’s not hard at all. I told my kids a couple months ago that it might happen. I even told them last year and they understand it. Do they want it to happen? No, but they understand baseball because that’s a major part of our lives. It’s not really a distraction and it’s not really emotional at all.”
If he feels unwanted by all these trade rumors:
“Not really because what I really care about is the coaching staff here, the training staff, and the 24 guys in this clubhouse. The front office is the front office and they do their job but my brothers are the players here, the coaches, and the training staff and I know these guys want me here. I don’t feel like I don’t feel wanted.”
Whether or not there has been a new long-term offer to keep him in San Diego:
“There has been no offer but we had a good talk in spring training. The door is still wide open. They haven’t talked or offered anything but heck there’s still more time before my contract is expired this year to talk. I’m one of those guys that if they talk the last day or the last hour of my contract they’re still talking during my contract and I’m not in any rush to talk terms or close the door or anything like that. If they want to talk to me the door is wide open, come see me.”
If he has heard anything about his agent and the Padres having any talks:
“I haven’t heard anything but I haven’t talked to my agent since the Home Run Derby of the All-Star Game. It’s just one of those things where we just have to wait and see. They might have started talking and since it’s just talking there is no reason to talk to me. When money starts to get thrown around that’s where I come into the picture. They could be talking to my agent, but I don’t know. I’m in no rush to call my agent and asked because everybody has their job. My job is to go out there and rack up saves for the team.”
On possibly taking a hometown discount:
“Yeah you can ask it and I have no idea. Just for the simple fact that I don’t know what I’m worth. If I’m okay with taking less than that then that is called a discount. San Diego discount, it costs more to live in San Diego and stuff, but it’s beautiful and the weather is great. I’m more up to take a discount but it’s just I don’t even know where the market value is for me so I can’t even tell you a certain number. I don’t even know what I’m worth so you would have to talk to Jed and my agents.”
Whether or not he has taken a step back to admire where he is in his career:
“I will step back when the season ends and my career is over. I’ll probably be amazed because I just wanted to be a Major League Baseball player. Spending eight or nine seasons in the minor leagues, coming from nothing, not drafted, and telling me I would never make it to the big leagues or play college ball or play varsity ball one year. I think it’s a lot of dedication and working hard and never giving up. I’d like to be an inspiration to people to never give up. Today I was driving with my son to the field and I said hey you know dad lost the game last night. He said yeah. I said you know what happens when you do something wrong or bad in sports? He said yeah you just don’t give up. I go exactly. You go out there, you work hard, and you try not to make the same mistake twice. I’m starting to instill that in my kids, I’m happy about it, and that’s really what baseball is all about.”