Bell addresses his future
Heath Bell has no illusions. He’s fully aware of the probability that he’s going to be traded between now and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And he’s perfectly willing to discuss it — at length and in detail.
On Monday, at his media availability session prior to Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Bell fielded a variety of questions about what he would prefer when and if the time comes that he’s playing somewhere other than San Diego. Bell can be a free agent after the 2011 season.
Asked whether it’s a problem if a team acquires him to be a setup man:
“If a club wants me to close, I’ll do the best I can. If a club wants me to be the eighth-inning guy, I’ll bust my butt to do the eighth inning. I don’t have a problem. As a free [agent], I definitely want to close. But for the last two, three months of the year? I’m good. I’ll set up. Because I think I’ve showed everybody than I can close. I don’t think I’m going to worry about this offseason whether they want me to close or set up. But I definitely want to close next year. But if I’ve got to set up this year, it’s OK.”
Asked whether it matters which league he goes to:
“No. I like the National League because I know everybody. But then I look at the American League, and they don’t really know me. I don’t think in the Major Leagues you trick anybody or you fool anybody, because everybody kind of knows everything. But the American League hitters haven’t really seen me, but then again I haven’t seen them. It’s going to be interesting. If I get traded to the East or the Central of the National League, those guys don’t see me all the time and now they will. So I’ll be more familiar with them. If I get traded to the American League, I’ve got a lot of homework to do. But they also have a lot of homework to do.”
And asked whether it’s just the slightest bit strange to be answering so many questions like this, so matter-of-factly, when he’s still a member of the Padres:
“I’m actually glad I’m answering it now and not like once every day for the next two weeks. Because in San Diego we’ve got like two or three guys [covering the team every day]. And they’ll come up to me every few days and just say, ‘Hey, have you heard anything?’ ‘Nah, I haven’t heard anything.’ ‘All right, cool.’ So they won’t write anything.”