Denying health concerns, job burnout or the most likely/overdue scenario of all — the organization kicking him to the curb — Buddy Bell has announced his resignation as Royals manager, effective at season’s end.

Having led the Royals to no fewer than two winning months this season, Bell is fully entitled to decide for himself, when and why to step down.

Cynics will point to Bell’s 152-228 mark at K.C. skipper, or his career managerial record of 497-690 as evidence that perhaps his paymasters should’ve taken action of their own far earlier. But only a cynic would quibble over something as transient as wins and losses.

Leo Durocher is credited with the claim “Nice guys finish last.” With 4 last places finishes in 6 prior big league seasons (and a 5th pending), you might say that Buddy Bell is the nicest guy in the game.

Perhaps you’ve heard that Johan Santana, miffed at the trade of Luis Castillo, is wondering about the Twins’ commitment to winning. Perhaps hiring Kevin McHale as a special consultant to Terry Ryan wasn’t a great idea?

Was anyone else surprised the Pirates — usually not a buyer at the trading deadline — opted to assume nearly $14 million in future salary while obtaining P Matt Morris from the Giants? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dean Kovacevic points out that Morris, having allowed 30 runs in his last 5 starts, will take up a 5th of the entire Bucs payroll.

Rodrigo Lopez’ torn labrum has resulted in Colorado activating Jason Hirsh, and Bad Altitude’s Mark T.R. Donahue isn’t troubled by Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd’s inaction at the deadline.

What the Rockies really needed was a starter, even before news of Lopez’s injury came down the pipe, and look at the starters who moved: Matt Morris and Kyle Lohse. No thank you and no thank you. In a few places you may read that the Rockies talked to the White Sox about Jon Garland, but unquestionably that was a deal that would have cost them three megaprospects (Ubaldo Jimenez, Ryan Spilborghs, and another major-league ready guy, maybe Clint Barmes or an outfielder) the way Kenny Williams’ mind is working right now. Small-market reality is, folks, the Rockies need to hold on to as many players whom they control for the whole of the arbitration period as they can, even ones now seemingly redundant like Barmes or Ian Stewart. I know it’s hard to imagine, but better miss out on the playoffs this year and contend for the next several than trade the future for another one-per-decade four-game postseason cameo.