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Padres Trading Happiness Out Of San Diego

According to a recent report, the Philadelphia Phillies are the front-runners to acquire San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. With the Padres scuffling in the National League West and many teams in the playoff hunt desperate for bullpen help, Bell has become the premier reliever available at the trade deadline.

Bell has been in San Diego since the start of the 2007 season and established himself as one of the best closers in baseball when he recorded a league-leading 42 saves in 2009. He followed with an even better campaign in 2010, in which he finished top-10 in Cy Young voting, recorded 47 saves, and posted a sub-2.00 ERA. Thus far in 2011, he is doing nothing to decrease his stock. He has 26 saves and a 2.61 ERA.

I'm happy for Bell, who will likely find himself on a contender by July 31st. You have to feel sorry for Padres fans, however. Following a 2010 season during which their Pads were in contention right to the end, San Diego fans watched with hopeless resignation as the team traded its best player and fan favorite Adrian Gonzalez. While A-Gon has thrived in his new home at Fenway, Padres fans have watched their once-promising young team dissolve into a cellar-dweller, 14 games under .500 and trailing even the controversy-wracked Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now, as if to add insult to injury, the Padres appear to be on the precipice of trading another fan favorite in Bell. Obviously baseball is a business, and a team like San Diego, which doesn't have the payroll of teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies, is constantly searching for ways to improve the club while also saving money. They realize that Bell will probably command a large contract when he next hits the free agent market, so rather than losing him and receiving nothing in return, they are almost forced to part ways with him early and try to get a few pieces to help down the road. It is one of the saddest, and most inevitable, events in baseball.

Inevitability does little to quell the sadness of Padres fans. One of my newest friends in New York is a native San Diegan named Amy. Amy lives and dies with her Padres, thinks that Will Venable still has a shot to be a perennial All-Star, cursed the day that Gonzalez left SoCal, and pines for the days when her boys in blue return to baseball glory. When I brought up the impending trade of Heath Bell, a sad smile came over her face. "Yeah, we all knew he was probably going to have to go," she said. "All the good ones have to go eventually."

Here's hoping the Padres reel off 10 wins in their next 11 to get right back into the chase. I like Amy a whole lot better when her Padres are winning.

According to a recent report, the Philadelphia Phillies are the front-runners to acquire San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. With the Padres scuffling in the National League West and many teams in the playoff hunt desperate for bullpen help, Bell has become the premier reliever available at the trade deadline.

Bell has been in San Diego since the start of the 2007 season and established himself as one of the best closers in baseball when he recorded a league-leading 42 saves in 2009. He followed with an even better campaign in 2010, in which he finished top-10 in Cy Young voting, recorded 47 saves, and posted a sub-2.00 ERA. Thus far in 2011, he is doing nothing to decrease his stock. He has 26 saves and a 2.61 ERA.

I'm happy for Bell, who will likely find himself on a contender by July 31st. You have to feel sorry for Padres fans, however. Following a 2010 season during which their Pads were in contention right to the end, San Diego fans watched with hopeless resignation as the team traded its best player and fan favorite Adrian Gonzalez. While A-Gon has thrived in his new home at Fenway, Padres fans have watched their once-promising young team dissolve into a cellar-dweller, 14 games under .500 and trailing even the controversy-wracked Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now, as if to add insult to injury, the Padres appear to be on the precipice of trading another fan favorite in Bell. Obviously baseball is a business, and a team like San Diego, which doesn't have the payroll of teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Phillies, is constantly searching for ways to improve the club while also saving money. They realize that Bell will probably command a large contract when he next hits the free agent market, so rather than losing him and receiving nothing in return, they are almost forced to part ways with him early and try to get a few pieces to help down the road. It is one of the saddest, and most inevitable, events in baseball.

Inevitability does little to quell the sadness of Padres fans. One of my newest friends in New York is a native San Diegan named Amy. Amy lives and dies with her Padres, thinks that Will Venable still has a shot to be a perennial All-Star, cursed the day that Gonzalez left SoCal, and pines for the days when her boys in blue return to baseball glory. When I brought up the impending trade of Heath Bell, a sad smile came over her face. "Yeah, we all knew he was probably going to have to go," she said. "All the good ones have to go eventually."

Here's hoping the Padres reel off 10 wins in their next 11 to get right back into the chase. I like Amy a whole lot better when her Padres are winning.