Saturday, January 16, 2010

Padres Re-Sign Heath Bell

I've advocated, both here and at Baseball Reflections, trading Heath Bell away. The team has positional needs, and Heath is one of the few chips they have to acquire players to fill those needs.

On Friday, the team announced re-signing Bell for 1 year at $4 million. So now that they've resigned him, is it a good signing?

Bell made $1.255 million last year (plus a $25K bonus for making the All-Star team), and posted a 2.0 WAR. His WAR made him the 6th most valuable Padre overall and second most valuable pitcher behind only Kevin Correia. Among relievers, he was fourth in the NL (behind Broxton, Brian Wilson, and Rafael Soriano), and 1oth in the Majors. Fangraphs calculated his worth last year at $8.8 million. So based on that, Bell's deal would appear to be a good one.

The going rate for wins above replacement, well documented at various sites around the web, is $4.4 million. While Bell might not be an elite closer in 2010, there are no indications he'll regress badly next season - he should still be above average. Conservatively estimating his worth for 2010 at 1 WAR, the Padres paid less than the going rate for his services. So based on that, Bell's deal would appear to be a good one.

I took a look at Closer salaries for 2010. Unfortunately, not all teams have settled on their closer for this season. By my count, 11 of the 30 teams had their closer's contract expire at the end of the 2009 season and haven't renewed that particular pitcher's terms. So, for those teams I took a look at their salary for 2009. The average salary for a closer at the moment is $5.28 million, which means the Padres have paid less than the going rate for a closer in 2010. So based on that, Bell's deal would appear to be a good one.

Finally, consider the closers who put up comparable numbers to Bell in 2009 (based on WAR):

Jonathan Broxton - $1.83M (2009)
Brian Wilson - $0.48M (2009)
Andrew Bailey - $0.4M (2009)
Rafael Soriano - $7.5M (2010)
Mariano Rivera - $15M (2010)

Bell's deal puts him right in the middle of this pack. The Padres' deal for Heath Bell is a good one for the club.

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