Heath Bell is nearing a deal with an unknown team, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com. It will not cost a draft pick to sign Bell, a Type A free agent, even though the Padres offered him arbitration last week. San Diego would obtain two top 2012 draft picks if Bell signs elsewhere.
Bell posted a 2.44 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings this past season. The Angels and Red Sox are interested in the 34-year-old ACES client, who would prefer to remain on the West Coast. The Blue Jays, Mets, Reds and Marlins may also sign closers this offseason. The Padres offered Bell a two-year deal, but don’t appear to be optimistic about their chances of retaining him.