As the MLB season heads into July, the excitement will rise because all chatter will be directed at trade candidates being on the move to possible contenders for a long postseason run. That will open up debates not only for the contenders whose fan base dissect what that player brings to the organization, but for the non-contenders who have to sell to the fans why they had to part with top talent to acquire future assets or plainly just to save money.
For the Washington Nationals, sadly this situation is more about the latter as opposed to the former.
The Nationals should already be making plans for their direction for the future. Now that the team is firmly entrenched in last place of the NL East, two names will be on the minds of contending teams through the trade deadline on August 2nd. Those names are Juan Soto and MLBbro Josh Bell.
If the contract negotiations between Bell and the Nationals are any indication, our MLBbro probably will be on the move to another team in August. If Washington wanted to lock up Josh they would have offered an extension in the offseason instead of barely avoiding arbitration with a one year, $10 million deal.
Washington’s GM Mike Rizzo talked about the ongoing situation during spring training from the team’s perspective via SB Nation.
“Josh Bell is a guy that we really like, we made a trade for,” Rizzo said. “We’re concentrating on seeing if we can get something done with Juan Soto first. Like I said before, he’s our No.1 priority, and we’re going to try to attack that one before we move on to anybody else.”
Josh Bell is due to become a free agent after the season and his productive season has only increased his market value for the future. If the Nationals do not want to commit to a long-term deal for Bell, it would behoove them to trade him to a contender to get some assets for a continuous rebuild while the asking price is at a premium and not let him walk at the end of the season for nothing.
Our MLBbro overcame a slow start by making a simple adjustment to his hitting mechanics to get in a groove in June to the tune of seven home runs and 17 RBI in a 23-game stretch.
While his talents might not be needed at first base at his next stop, his .309 average (which leads ALL MLBbros) coupled with 11 homers and 46 RBI, will find him in the DH slot of a playoff contender as a rental for the stretch run.
Let’s take a look at three teams that are in need of Josh Bell’s services.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
It’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers will be putting Bell at first base after backing up the Brinks truck to secure high-priced free agent Freddie Freeman. However, with the injury to Mookie Betts and the underwhelming production coming out of the DH spot, Josh Bell will be a perfect short-term solution as the Dodgers try to get back to the World Series, a goal that has become an annual tradition for the last decade.
San Diego Padres:
Why did MLBbro.com mention the Los Angeles Dodgers first? Because they have their issues at the top of the NL West. Those issues have allowed the San Diego Padres to move up to 1.5 games out of first place, making this a division a dogfight. The Padres realize that the Dodgers have no issues opening up the bankbook to get the best players on the market no matter the cost. Josh Bell can add some offensive power to compete with their loaded division rivals.
Like the Dodgers, the Padres have a quality first baseman in Eric Hosmer, but they need help in the DH spot.
Josh Bell could find some time at first base if he moved to the Minnesota Twins. The Twins sit at the top of the AL Central thanks to a high-powered offense and a starting pitching rotation that has exceeded expectations.
However, with Miguel Sano on the 60-day injured list after surgery to his left knee for a torn meniscus, Bell can fill in seamlessly at first while Luis Arraez can move to another position in the infield. Whether Sano comes back to his regular position in the field or not, the Twins can place him in the DH spot where, like the other two teams, he’s underperformed.
Sure, there will certainly be other teams that will make a run for Josh Bell, but that is more about our MLBbro’s outstanding run at the plate this season more than a Nationals salary dump. Washington will be looking for young prospects (preferably a pitcher) in exchange for a 2022 rental in Bell.
The team that wins the Josh Bell sweepstakes hope that he is the big bat that will get them over the hump.