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Rumor Mill: Heath Bell

The Cardinals are still working to try to land Padres closer Heath Bell, according to a Fox Sports report.

But the effort was dealt a setback by the trade of Colby Rasmus to Toronto for pitching help. Fox's Ken Rosenthal said the former St. Louis centerfielder was the "centerpiece" of talks with San Diego for Bell.

If the Birds want to add Bell to their bullpen, they're likely going to have to dip into their minor league talent pool or subtract another part of the St. Louis roster, maybe Jason Motte or Mitchell Boggs.

The report, while mentioning the Bell situation in passing, was largely a pan of the deal that sent Rasmus out of St. Louis. Rosenthal alleged that the Toronto deal wasn't the best available to the Cardinals. He said he thought St. Louis could have landed celebrated -- and reasonably priced -- Colorado ace Ubaldo Jiminez in a package that included Rasmus.

But the Redbirds seemed to be more interested in winning in 2011 than the were in the future beyond that. The Colorado deal wouldn't have offered the sweeping bullpen help that they sought. Dominant lefty relievers come at a premium these days and the Cardinals simply needed to have one to face guys like Prince Fielder and Joey Votto.

Marc Rzepczynski has held lefty hitters to a .159 batting average so far this season. But he's not a one trick pony. Righty hitters don't have much success against him either with a .243 batting average against.

Octavio Dotel gives the Cardinals a righty reliever who can be trusted in tight spots. As currently configured, the bullpen has gone from one of the worst in the National League to above average. And if the team can land Bell, it will suddenly be one of the best.