Padres: Trade Adams or Bell?

It’s less than two weeks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and the Padres find themselves with an interesting conundrum on their hands: Trade three-time All-Star closer Heath Bell or reliever Mike Adams, who is regarded as one of the top eighth-inning specialists in the game?

Bell is making $7.5 million and will be a free agent after the season. He loves San Diego. He’s making his home here and, if he had the choice, would remain a Padre for life. If the Padres don’t like the package of players offered for him, they could hang onto him, offer him arbitration (pray he declines) and then add two Draft picks in 2012. But what if he accepts? There’s a big risk there for a club that had a $43 million payroll and isn’t interested in devoting a large portion of their payroll to a non position player.

Adams, who at 32 is 10 months younger than Bell, could attract the best compensation package. The Padres are looking for young, controllable players. Impact players with upside. Players, presumably, no more than a year or so away from being able to contribute at the Major League level. For a team looking for a late-inning reliever or even a possible closer (though Adams hasn’t done that at the Major League level) Adams looks like a very viable option. And that he is under club control for 2012 makes him even more attractive.

So who goes? That will depend on the best offer. Moving Bell might make the best financial sense for the Padres. But a deal for Adams could get them the pieces the team covets to build moving forward.

— Corey Brock

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