Heath Bell pumps his fist after getting the last out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Petco Park on June 4, 2011.
When the Texas Rangers landed Cliff Lee last year, weeks before the trade deadline, it automatically put the Rangers in the upper echelon of "players" in Major League Baseball.
Since then, the team with what many national media say is the best farm in baseball, particularly in pitching prospects, hasn't taken a step back.
With the trade deadline coming Sunday, the Rangers are poised to make multiple deals and with the recent struggles of closer Neftali Feliz, added to the year-long struggles of the rest of the Rangers' bullpen.
Media folks all around the country are throwing out ideas that the Rangers are tossing around, led by them acquiring San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell, who has a 2.40 ERA with 29 saves. Bell has said publicly he would assume a set-up role if he was traded, but at this point, he might be closing some games too unless Feliz can shake whatever is bothering him and what has led both Ron Washington and Nolan Ryan to publicly question his mental approach and enthusiasm.
Bell would likely be a rent-a-player, like Lee, and would most certainly return to San Diego as a free agent in the winter.
The Padres have been on and off again when it comes to talking about trading set-up man Mike Adams. It appears, once again, they're on. Adams would be a huge pickup with his 1.17 ERA in 46 appearances with the Padres, and most importantly, the Rangers would control him beyond this year. Assuming Feliz corrects what's ailing him, imagine a bullpen with Adams in the seventh, Bell in the eighth and Feliz in the 9th, with Mark Lowe, Darren Oliver and Tommy Hunter mixed in. Plus the quality of the starting rotation the team has seen this year. Wow. That's a World Series champion right there.
The Rangers have also been linked to Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey, who has a 2.25 ERA and 12 saves this year for the lowly A's, a division rival of the Rangers. I'm not as big on Bailey as I am on the aforementioned two, or even as big as I am on a guy like Tyler Clippard, the Washington Nationals set-up man. He has a 1.73 ERA in 57 1/3 innings with a whopping 72 strikeouts and just 20 walks. But the Nationals are looking for a center fielder and the Rangers' chances were lessened when Julio Borbon went on the DL in Round Rock.
Buckle your safety belts, Rangers fans. A lot of stuff is about to go down.