Bell a possible trade target

San Diego closer Heath Bell, an All-Star for the third straight year, has a 2.43 ERA with 26 saves this season. (Eric Risberg/AP Photo)

PHOENIX -- Heath Bell was a popular man during the All-Star Game media festivities. He figures to be traded by the last-place Padres before the July 31 deadline and the Phillies are a logical destination.

Bell acknowledged as much Monday.

"I'm going to work my butt off and give everything I have to the San Diego Padres," Bell said. "When they tell me that I'm in Philly or St. Louis or Texas or the Yankees or the Angels, whoever it is, I'm going to give my heart and soul to that team."

The San Diego closer said he'd be willing to serve as a setup man for a contending team this season, but will seek a closing job in free agency this winter. Bell, 33, has a 2.43 ERA with 26 saves this season. He is an All-Star for the third straight year.


Which Phillies hitter is most likely to break out after the all-star break?

If Jose Contreras' elbow issue is serious, which is certainly a possibility, the Phillies could seek insurance for the back of the bullpen. Any contribution from Brad Lidge is questionable. Antonio Bastardo has been fantastic, but is only six innings away from equaling his 2010 total. And Michael Stutes is more than halfway to his 2010 innings total.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is on record saying he'd prefer to add a relief arm before a bat.

Bell is making $7.5 million in 2011. The Padres also have Ryan Ludwick, a righthanded power-hitting outfielder that could attract the Phillies.

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