07/29/11 11:55 AM ET
Padres expected to be busy by Deadline
All-Star closer Bell likely on the move; Ludwick may be dealt
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
San Diego, which arguably has more moveable pieces than any other team in the Major Leagues, is expected to make a handful of trades between now and Sunday.
"You'd be crazy not to make some moves for the future," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer told the team's flagship station, XX 1090, this week.
"We don't have the talent base here in order to be successful."
The Padres appear poised to move three-time All-Star closer Heath Bell, and according to a handful of online reports, San Diego has an apt suitor in the Texas Rangers, who are seeking a reliever for the back end of their bullpen.
The Cardinals and Phillies could also add a reliever, and both have been linked to Bell in the past.
Bell, who is making $7.5 million this year, will be a free agent after the season. He's said he would take a discounted deal to remain in San Diego, though the Padres, a team seeking impact players with upside, figure to move him for prospects.
"Am I going to Texas or Anaheim? I don't know," Bell said after Thursday's 4-3 victory over the D-backs. "I think a trade is going to happen. It's probably just going to wait until we're near the wire. I've come to terms with it."
Chad Qualls, who has a 3.37 ERA, is another reliever the Padres figure to move before Sunday. Qualls, a former closer in Arizona, has reestablished himself as a viable late-inning bullpen option by rediscovering his power sinker.
San Diego doesn't appear ready to move righty Mike Adams, regarded as one of the top eighth-inning specialists in the game. Adams would likely slide into the closer role if the team moves Bell in a deal.
The Padres struck gold by signing free-agent starting pitcher -- and San Diego native, no less -- Aaron Harang. The right-hander has won a team-best nine games and has a 3.45 ERA. But he also has a player option worth $5 million for 2012.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick, whom San Diego added before the Trade Deadline a year ago to boost its offense, figures to be on the move again. Ludwick is making $6.775 million this season and will be a free agent this offseason.
Ludwick, who entered Friday having collected a team-best 62 RBIs, has drawn interest from the Braves, Phillies and Indians. Ludwick played parts of three seasons in Cleveland (2003-05) before heading to the Cardinals, with whom he became an All-Star in 2008.