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On the heels of Mike Adams' departure to the Texas Rangers, Heath Bell is staying as San Diego Padres closer for 2011. Expect the Fathers to engage Bell in extension talks, but the fact that they'd receive two first-round sandwich picks in the MLB Entry Draft if he signed somewhere else will make this interesting. He wants to stay close to San Diego, one way or another, so maybe if SD lets him walk, he'll choose another West Coast team.
Closer in name, but....
- Texas also acquired Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles, giving them two potential alternatives if they decide to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation and bring Uehara back next season. Ron Washington wouldn't speculate whether Adams could close in the future. Considering the Rangers gave up two potential top-flight SPs for Adams, they might be planning for Feliz to toe the starting rubber.
It's unlikely they'd go away from Feliz in the ninth this season, but as MLB-trade-deadline-effects">Lord Zola points out, Uehara and Adams are much better at pounding the strike zone. Feliz has had his strike zone troubles this year. His owners shouldn't panic, but they shouldn't get comfortable, either.
- Uehara's departure to Texas gives Kevin Gregg more rope in the O's closer gig. Mike Gonzalez is next in line.
- Other stoppers involved in trade rumors who are staying put (barring a waiver deal) include the Florida Marlins' Leo Nunez, the Tampa Bay Rays' Kyle Farnsworth, the Washington Nationals' Drew Storen, the Toronto Blue Jays' Jon Rauch, the New York Mets' Jason Isringhausen, the Seattle Mariners' Brandon League and the Oakland Athletics' Andrew Bailey.
- As for on-field goings-on, Sergio Santos' statistics have benefited from Ozzie Guillen's strategy to use a kind of head-start with Chris Sale or Matt Thornton starting the save frame. Santos hasn't allowed a run in his last seven appearances, which have accounted for only 3 1/3 innings. That being said, he pitched a full ninth inning Saturday and retired the 2-3-4 hitters of the Boston Red Sox order in order to get a big-boy save.
But as we noted in last week's Insider Trading report, any continued mixing and matching by Ozzie could cut down on Santos' opportunities, even if he remains the final game-wrapping option. You can't save a three-run lead if you don't pitch the entire inning. If your closer crop and standing are relatively safe, consider selling Santos to fill other needs; you don't want to keep guessing on his situational use.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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