MLB Trade Speculation: Ryan Franklin's Implosion Hastening Heath Bell's Exit?
If you have the misfortune of owning St. Louis Cardinals "closer" Ryan Franklin on your fantasy team, you know his season has been a series of four-alarm fires to date.
Actually, four-alarm might be underselling the catastrophe.
Franklin's appeared in six games and has blown a save for each inning he's completed (4 BS in 4.2 IP). Everywhere you look, horror abounds, but it can be summed up using just his WHIP and ERA: 2.14 and 11.57, respectively.
I'd call him kerosene, but kerosene might justifiably take exception to being lumped in with such volatility.
Which brings me to San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell.
The free-agent-to-be is looking like his usual self—7 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 1.29 ERA and four saves without a blown opportunity. Only his strikeouts are missing, but who cares if he's recording outs?
The kicker, of course, is the fact that Bell's deal expires at the close of 2011 i.e. the Friars WILL be moving him before the trade deadline and the Cards tend to be buyers in that same period.
If that's not a perfect fit, I'm not sure one exists.
Granted, the STL has some in-house options to replace Franklin such as Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte and rookie Eduardo Sanchez. But given manager Tony La Russa's hard lean toward veterans, don't be surprised if Heath Bell lands under the Gateway Arch sooner rather than later.
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