Waiver claims often amount to a game of chicken. The latest example: the San Francisco Giants’ reported claim of San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell.
The Padres declined to trade Bell before the non-waiver deadline, frustrated by the offers they received from interested clubs.
At the time, the Padres wanted at least the equivalent of two high draft picks, knowing they would receive such compensation if they offer Bell salary arbitration this offseason.
Since then, however, Bell has said he would accept arbitration. He could get as much as $12 million in the process, or nearly one-fourth of the Padres’ expected payroll for 2012.
So, here we go again.
The Giants’ claim, first reported by ESPN.com, must be resolved by 1 p.m. ET Friday. The Padres can keep Bell, trade him or allow him to leave on a waiver claim.
Might the Padres lower their asking price, knowing how badly Bell wants to stay in San Diego? And might the Giants make a stronger than expected push for Bell, knowing that two of their top relievers, closer Brian Wilson and setup man Sergio Romo, are ailing?
A general manager of another club recently said he would not offer much for 10 to 15 innings of Bell, particularly with approximately $1.25 million remaining on the closer’s contract.
The Padres would find it difficult to defend accepting a weak offer for Bell. Then again, it might beat the alternative — keeping him and potentially paying him big money next season.
— Ken Rosenthal