by Myron Logan

According to Corey Brock, the Padres and Heath Bell have come to a one year deal worth $4 million, avoiding arbitration. The Padres closer, who made just over $1.25 million last season, gets a large (and well-deserved) pay increase. Bell, 32 years old, is under San Diego’s control through 2011.

Since joining the Padres in 2006, Bell has posted a 2.72 ERA in 241 innings, striking out 252 batters and allowing just 11 home runs. According to FanGraphs, Bell has been worth about $23 million over the last three years (on the free market), while making just over $2 million. While he should easily be worth more than $4 million in 2010, the gap between his free market value and actual salary should begin its decline phase.