The Red Sox are likely in the market for a closer. The Red Sox also have a lot of money. Therefore, it would be a good idea for any of the many closers on the free-agent market to keep Boston in mind when deciding where they want to pitch next season.
Heath Bell, arguably the best closer to hit the market this offseason not named Jonathan Papelbon, discussed his free agency on Tuesday with the San Diego Union Tribune.
"My agents have told me numerous other teams are interested with most of those on the East Coast," the All-Star closer told the paper. "I told my guys that if there is any shot for San Diego, hold onto it. But I haven’t really heard anything from the Padres since they changed general managers. Right now, I have no idea what to expect."
It's rather unlikely that the small-market Padres will be able to retain Bell's services. If he must move on, however, Bell indicated that he would like to stay on the West Coast, but he's certainly not closing the book on other opportunities as well.
"But I think there’s going to be a three-year deal out there from someone," he said. "And that’s what I’d like to have. I’d rather stay on the West Coast. But I still have a home in Florida."
That may not sound encouraging for Red Sox fans who would like to see Bell replace Papelbon in the ninth inning next season, but Bell would be open to joining an ex-teammate in Boston.
"I've heard Boston might have interest in me," he told the Union Tribune. "I could go play with Adrian [Gonzalez] again. I could do that."
MLBTradeRumors.com points out that Bell's representation, ACES, is the group that represents Papelbon as well. They got a deal done quickly with the Phillies, and it sounds like Bell would like to have his future plans decided quickly.
Bell has been named an All-Star in each of the last three seasons, a span in which he has averaged 44 saves per season.