According to a MLB-TV report, the Rangers -- not the Cardinals -- are the favorites to land San Diego closer Heath Bell.
Texas is in first place in an awful American League West Division despite a record that is only two games over the .500 mark. And the Rangers think that some help in the back of the bullpen is the answer to getting their club hot.
Neftali Feliz hasn't exactly been doing a terrible job. He's got a 2.31 ERA with 13 saves in 23 1/3 innings pitched. He's only blown three saves all year -- and two of those came in back-to-back games in the middle of May. Opponents are hitting .207 against Feliz for the season.
If the Rangers don't want him, I bet the Cardinals would take him.
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The speculation that followed was that the Redbirds were more likely to land Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez who is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He's only got one blown save which actually happened yesterday in a poor appearance against Atlanta. Rodriguez gave up three hits in an inning of work that included a home run. His ERA was 2.73 at the start of the appearance.
Rodriguez was in trouble with the Mets, MLB and the law last season when he allegedly punched out his father in law in the Mets clubhouse after a game. But he's had a remarkable rebound. And if he can keep his personal life in check, he's got the stuff to do the job.
A major obstacle to his acquisition, however, is a vesting option on his contract that would pay Rodriguez $17.5 milliion in 2012 if he finishes 55 games this year. He's got 28 under his belt with the year less than half of the way over.
It seems that the only way for the Cardinals to land Rodriguez is for him to either agree to void the option and become a rental or rework the deal -- or for the Mets to agree to pay some of the freight. But it is doubtful that they'd dump an effective pitcher if they're going to have to pay the majority of his salary anyway.