Well, I think we may have the new “Jake Peavy” watch player for the Cubs. And that player is former teammate of Peavy, in Padre’s closer Heath Bell.
Their were conflicting reports in the off-season about whether or not the Cubs were actually interested in Bell, but nothing ever materialized for the Cubs, or any other team for that matter.
But, with the Cubs recent struggles in their bullpen, ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine dropped this tidbit for us on friday.
"The Padres at some point will put closer Heath Bell on the market. The Cubs will have as good a shot as anybody to obtain Bell if they’re willing to give up a No. 1 prospect like infielder Josh Vitters."
So, there you fans have it, the Cubs will definitely be interested in Heath Bell when he becomes available. If the Cubs were to actually acquire Bell, they would have a pretty good problem on their hands. As they would have two potential shut down closers in their bullpen in current closer Carlos Marmol, who is perfect in his save opportunities this year, and of course Heath Bell.
But, I would guess that the Cubs would have Bell be their eight inning set up man. As, it is Carlos Marmol’s job to loose, and does not look like he will be giving that up anytime soon.
But maybe the most surprising news coming out of this report, is that the Cubs will be willing to pay for Heath Bell.
"Cubs GM Jim Hendry will gladly overpay in prospects if he gets the go-ahead from the Ricketts family to trade for a pitcher like Bell and absorb his $5 million contract."
So whether “overpaying” on prospects means giving up 3 or 4 mid level prospects, or giving up a top prospect like third basemen Joshua Vitters and plus another 2 or 3 top prospects, I’m kinda of shocked that Jim Hendry would be willing to do so.
Tom Ricketts already said that he would expand the budget if that means adding a player or two that the Cubs need, but he also has put on emphasis on building up the Cubs farm system. So while Rickets maybe willing to take on Bell’s $5 million contract, he may not be willing to give away the Cubs young prospects. And, although Josh Vitters is one prospect of what looks like a bright system, I would have a hard time giving a top prospect like Vitters for guy in Bell, that could be considered a rental player. Although, I do believe that if the Cubs give up a bundle of prospects, I think they may try and re-sign him before he reaches free agency.