The 2022 MLB season was a tale of two stories for MLBbro Josh Bell. Prior to the season Bell signed a 1 year/ $10 million contract with the Washington Nationals.
This was meant to be a prove it deal after his 2020 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates was poor and his 2021 season was solid after being traded to the aforementioned Nationals.
Well aware of this fact, Bell knew this was his opportunity to try and perform and receive what may be his last lucrative contract. With this in mind, Bell came into the 2022 season with razor sharp focus.
Josh Bell started the season on fire and was dynamic for the last place Washington Nationals. With his hot bat it seemed inevitable that he would be in line for a big payday once the season ended. But whenever there is a dynamic player with am affordable contract, there is always a postseason contender looking to acquire their services.
There was no difference in this case when the San Diego Padres traded for MLBbro Josh Bell at the trade deadline. Meant to be an asset to the big prize, Juan Soto, the switch hitting first baseman Bell provided the Padres with much needed versatility in their lineup. However, a change of scenery did not help Bell.
In 103 games with the Nationals, Bell batted .301 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI. These numbers had Bell positioned to lock in a great payday. But Bell’s hitting prowess did not come with him to the west coast. In 53 games with the Padres, Bell’s batting average was a mere .192. Bell amassed a 3.4 WAR during his time in Washington, but only a -0.4 WAR in San Diego. This changed the entire outlook of his production for the overall 2022 MLB season. He would finish with a .266 batting average, with most of his power numbers being a product of his time on the afterthought Nationals squad.
Josh Bell Did Enough To Get A Sweet Deal
Bells’ early productivity and late playoff contributions set him up for a nice bag in free agency. The Cleveland Guardians won the American League Central division last season and recorded 92 wins. However, one aspect of offense that Terry Francona’s well-rounded squad was missing is power. It’s hard to win a World Series these days without big boppers in your lineup and Cleveland was second to last in MLB with 127 homers, just 17 more than the offensively inept Detroit Tigers (110).
Understanding their needs, the Guardians agreed to terms on a two-year, $33 million contract with free agent Bell to come ring some heads in Ohio. Adding MLBbro Bell — who has averaged 25 homers and 89 RBI per 162 games in his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres — to play first base also opens up more time at DH for rising MLBbro Josh Naylor and definitely gives them another power threat in the lineup.
Can Josh Bell Provide Consistent Power For Guardians In 2023?
Bell showed flashes of a stud who can help anchor a lineup with the Nationals, and also someone who should only be related to part-time DH duty with the Padres. In 2023, at age 30, here’s hoping that Josh Bell uses the next two seasons to establish himself as a top first baseman in the game and an All-Star.
Dusty Baker might have left starter Justin Verlander in too long in Game 1 of the World Series on Friday. After getting off to an impressive start, the club would blow a 5-0 lead, and would end up losing 6-5 in 10 innings.
The veteran manager took a much more cerebral approach in Game 2. Baker, with his now patented black gloves, prepared to dissect this matchup and pick the Philadelphia Phillies apart.
Down 0-1, it was desperation time and Dusty expressed that much after his team’s gut check, 5-2 win to tie the WS at 1-1.
Entering Saturday night’s crucial clash the MLBbro Manager decided to shake things up.
After all, the winner of Game 1’s in the World Series have gone on to win the series 65% of the time, so Baker was feeling the pressure.
Dusty Shakes Things Up For Game 2
Not only did he bench Trey Mancini, he moved Yordan Alvarez to the DH spot. His team didn’t stagger much from the Game 1 loss and got off to an electric start. After the rough loss in Game 1 of the 2022 World Series, the Houston Astros got off to another offensively-electric start. Through the first four pitches the Astros hit three doubles and ended up taking an early 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Although the club held the lead through the next several innings, the pressure of being down in the series may have called Dusty Baker to make a questionable, yet strategic challenge in the 5th inning.
Dusty Sways Momentum With Challenge
Baker challenged an out call at second base on a routine double play attempt that caught the baseball world off guard. And although the call was not overturned, it did throw off the momentum and rhythm that Phillies pitcher Zac Wheeler had. This was evident when the next batter, Alex Bregman came and smashed a 2-run homer over center field.
Baker pulled out all the stops trying to tie the series at 1-1 and was successful in doing just that. Now the series heads back to Philadelphia, and the Astros will look to steal a game there and regain home field advantage.
With Framber Valdez pitching a gem ( 9 strikeouts in 6.1 innings) Baker did not have to worry about whether or not to pull a starter in this game.
The New York Yankees are tied in the American League Divisional Series against the Cleveland Guardians. This is largely due to little help from the American League MVP favorite, MLBbro Aaron Judge. Judge has struggled mightily in this series striking out seven times in 9 at-bats with one walk. Regardless of how the first two games have gone, the Yankees will need more from Aaron Judge, who has put just one ball in play so far this series.
The MLBbro knows despite his miraculous regular season, he must deliver in October.
Judge’s name has been more in the news for his upcoming free agency than his playoff performance. Reports have been claiming that he is destined to leave in the Winter. This speculation seems to be a distraction to the slugger and his teammates. Even if the Yankees are able to get by the Guardians, unless Judge is able to get back on track (.125 OBP in the series) it is hard to see the Bronx Bombers achieving their ultimate goal. Overcoming past playoff struggles is one of the things that Judge needs to boost his all-time resume.
Tale Of Two Playoff Performers
At the beginning of his playoff career Judge was considered a dynamic hitter, batting .267 with seven homers and 15 RBIs in this first 16 playoff games. Since then, he has gone 15 for his last 83, including this year’s dismal playoff performance. Things will not get any easier as Judge has struggled on the road against the Guardians this season, batting .143 in road games against Cleveland this year.
But what’s wrong with Judge? How does he go from a guy no one wants to pitch against to an easy out in the playoffs?
“I’m not too concerned about it, he’s going to figure it out,” said former Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, who spent one seasons in the Twin Cities before opting out last week. What made him great during the season is he was not chasing (pitches). When he was getting good pitches to hit in the middle, he was hitting it.”
Correa went on to mention that Judge is facing nothing but ace pitchers now in the playoffs and Shane Bieber was like Picasso painting the corners and forcing Judge into uncomfortable hitting situations.
“It’s a little unlikely to see that number of strikeouts, but you have to tip your hat. Bieber was amazing,” said former MLBbro player and TBS analyst Curtis Granderson.
What’s Next For Judge?
Judge can right the ship in an instant. He has the talent and when he gets hot, he’s unstoppable as evidenced by the AL -record 62 homers he slugged this season. If he can become not only a contributor, but regain his regular season from, the narrative will change completely.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone knows that the team’s chances to win are much higher when Judge is performing at a high level. Although the offseason is sure to be a momentous one for Aaron Judge the MLBbro does not need to look ahead and overlook a prime opportunity to improve upon his already historic season. The contract will be there for him in the offseason regardless, his playoff legacy will not.
The MLB playoffs are here and with that comes anticipation and expectation. The Toronto Blue Jays are having feelings of both as they are back in the playoffs after missing the postseason last year. The Blue Jays are laser focused and come into the playoffs winning seven out of their last ten games. But the most noteworthy difference in the team this year versus the previous postseason trip is the addition of MLBbro George Springer.
This is his second year with the ball club, but he brings postseason experience that few others in the Toronto’s lineup can provide. MLBbros George Springer and Jackie Bradley Jr. are both former World Series Champions. The team is full of young stellar players, such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio, but in the playoffs veteran experience is key. This is exactly what the team envisioned when they signed Springer to a six-year $150 million contract before the 2021 season.
This bodes well for the team and Springer as he is in a position with which he is all too comfortable. Having been the leadoff hitter for a championship team already, he is poised to set the tone for a young team that is looking to take the next step. Springer brings more than just experience; he has excelled at the highest level. In the now infamous 2017 World Series title, MLBbro Springer batted .379 with five home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI in the seven-game series over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While both Springer and MLBbro Jackie Bradley Jr. will help the young team be prepared for the Wild Card round, the team will lean heavily on Springer to lead the charge. If he can set a pace that ignites the team, the young stars will feel more comfortable and undoubtedly follow his lead. Springer is not the most talented player on this roster, but he is the veteran leader that is needed to succeed in October. If he can deliver and the team experiences success in the first round it will go a long way in establishing how far this gifted Toronto squad can go.
The National League East Division is still up for grabs as we near the end of the MLB season. Currently the New York Mets have a one-game lead and are headed into a crucial three-game series with the second-place Atlanta Braves. The Mets are preparing to hold on to that lead by calling up their top catching prospect Francisco Alvarez. But the Braves are already ahead of them as they have two 2022 call ups of their own who are going to play pivotal roles in this series.
MLBbro Michael Harris has been a gem for the Braves this season. He helped ignite the turnaround for the team after a slow start to the season and has been a catalyst in the lineup. While Harris has struggled in his games against the Mets, batting only .225 ( 1 HR), he has shown an uncanny ability to come up clutch whenever the team needs him. His speed on the base paths will also be key, as with the Mets using a catcher that is new to “The Show”, Harris can use this to his advantage and help “steal” the series. He has helped to make their outfield one of the best defensive groups in the league along with superstar teammate Ronald Acuna Jr. If Harris can come up big at the plate, and deliver his usual stellar defense, the Mets may have their hands full.
MLBbro Vaughn Grissom has not been in the majors as long as his MLBbro teammate Harris, but he has certainly delivered in his short stint. Not only is he a great hitter at such a young age, but he is also a smooth-fielding second baseman who seems poised under pressure. He came in earlier in the season with big shoes to fill during the absence of Ozzie Albies, but he has delivered and showed he belongs at the Major League level. Although his sample size is small, he has had success against the Mets, batting .429 in four games, and will also play a crucial role in this series.
This series will more than likely place the winner of it in the driver’s seat for the National League East. Both teams are a lock for the playoffs but having Home-field advantage in the first round could be the difference in a disappointing season or a magical one. The Braves are in a familiar place, but with two young MLBbros who are ready to start their own postseason legacies, they are more confident than ever.