Carlos Beltran was the biggest bat on the market and Ubaldo Jimenez was the biggest starting pitcher on the market. Each of them found new homes prior to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. The biggest relief pitcher, Heath Bell, did not get traded however. Ken Rosenthal suggests that it is still in the San Diego Padres' best interest to move Bell.
At this point, the Padres have three options that Rosenthal outlines.
1). They can sign Bell to a contract extension. This clearly is not a very attractive option for the Padres considering they have yet to make an offer despite Bell's desire to stay in San Diego - even if that means taking a pay cut.
2). Trade Bell before the August 31st deadline and accept a package that will be less than what they would have received at the July 31st deadline.
3). Offer Bell arbitration at the end of the season with the intention of receiving draft pick compensation - draft pick compensation that isn't guaranteed to be granted if there are changes to the next CBA.Rosenthal suggests that option number two - trading Bell at the August 31st deadline - is the best bet for the Padres. I agree with him. It appears as though the Padres are not willing to pay an aging (34 in September) and possibly declinging Bell a deal that pays him $7.5 million - or perhaps slightly less - per season. If that is the case, they certainly won't offer him arbitration - an offer that Bell said he would accept - and end up paying $10-12 million.
As Rosenthal says, the Padres are not in a great spot here with Bell and don't have any good options. Trading him by August 31st is simply the lesser of the evils.
My question is, if the Padres have already been well aware of their financial stance with Bell, why wouldn't they have made a deal at the non-waiver deadline? I'm not sure what teams were offering, but the Padres had to know that the packages were not going to get better after July 31st. I'm no GM, but I can't help but wonder if the San Diego Padres shot themselves in the foot here.