Phillies trade Bell to Brewers
Club receives Minor League reliever Laureano in deal
PHILADELPHIA -- David Bell flied out to shallow right in the ninth inning of Friday night's 4-1 loss to Florida, then packed his bags for a flight to Milwaukee.The veteran third baseman was dealt to the Brewers for Minor League pitcher Wilfredo Laureano, in the first of what could be a flurry of trades for the Phillies. "It's always a surprise, but you know that there's always that chance," Bell said. "It's part of the game. I'm disappointed to be leaving my teammates and there's a lot of good people here. I'm just disappointed we weren't able to win while I was here. That's the downside. That, and the people I'm going to miss." Bell leaves in the final season of a four-year, $17.5 million contract he signed in November 2002. He was earning $4.5 million in 2006, with the Brewers responsible for the remaining roughly $2 million. He heads to Milwaukee in the midst of one of his hottest stretches as a Phillie. He hit .361 in July and was playing good defense. Overall, the 33-year-old was batting .278 with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 91 games. Milwaukee, which added outfielder Kevin Mench and reliever Francisco Cordero in a deal for All-Star outfielder Carlos Lee earlier in the day, also addressed an infield need that arose due to injuries to Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Corey Koskie. The Brewers are seven games behind the Reds in the National League Wild Card race, while the the Phillies are 7 1/2 games back. General manager Pat Gillick said the move was a logical one, especially since Philadelphia didn't plan on pursuing Bell in the offseason. Gillick also said that Nunez is the starting third baseman for now, which means that Chris Coste is the team's backup third baseman and first baseman, but the team has no backup middle infielder. Gillick suggested that could change. "We're still look to improve the position and the team as much as possible," Gillick said. "We won't stop because Abraham is at third base. [But] we're going to give [Nunez] a chance to play." "I can't say that I'm going to hit for sure, because this is a tough game," said Nunez, who's batting .157 this season. "But I think if you get some at-bats in a row, you'll be able to produce."
The trade added a young arm to the Phillies' Minor League system. Laureano was 3-2 with one save and a 3.96 ERA in 29 appearances for West Virgnia in the Class A South Atlantic League. He fanned 62 in 63 2/3 innings, while allowing 54 hits and 36 walks.The 6-foot-6, 170-pounder, who was originally signed as an amateur free agent in 2001 out of El Seybo, Dominican Republic, was assigned to Class A Lakewood. Baseball sources said Gillick has been discussing deals with many other teams. Other players who could be dealt by Monday include Cory Lidle, Rheal Cormier, Jon Lieber and Bobby Abreu. "We've done a lot of talking and you never know," Gillick said. "As the 4 o'clock Monday [deadline] approaches, people will get more anxious and want to do something. There probably will be some things transpiring in the next couple of days." After finishing his postgame interviews, Bell exchanged hugs and handshakes with teammates, and expressed disappointment that the Phillies didn't win while he manned third base. "It was disappointing, because we didn't win," Bell said. "That's why I came here, to be a part of a winning team. Other than that, I enjoyed my time here, and met a lot of people that are going to be friends for life. That means a lot to me. I'm glad that I got an opportunity to play with them, and make friends that I never would have had a chance to make. That was a positive." "David's been a great teammate to me, to the rest of the guys," pitcher Brett Myers said. "I'm sad to see him go. I've been with him for four years, so it's upsetting. But it's part of the game. [He's] never clean after the game. [He's] always dirty and playing hard." The Brewers will find that out soon enough.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.