The Washington Nationals certainly solved a huge question mark at first base on Thursday with the acquisition of slugging switch-hitter Josh Bell.
Washington sent right-handers Wil Crowe, its No. 3 prospect and Eddy Yean, its No. 6 prospect, to Pittsburgh.
There was a hole at first base following a season in which the position was manned by committee. Howie Kendrick announced his retirement on Monday, while Asdrubal Cabrera and Eric Thames are free agents. And longtime Washington star, Ryan Zimmerman, who was part of the Nats’ plan at first before he elected not to play in 2020, also is a free agent.
Bell, 28, is entering his sixth Major League season. Last year, he slashed .226/.305/.364 with a .669 OPS and eight home runs in 57 games. Bell was an All-Star in 2019, when he ranked in the top 10 among National League players in RBIs (116, sixth), OPS+ (142, seventh), doubles (37, eighth), homers (37, ninth), slugging (.569, ninth) and OPS (.936, 10th).
In his career, Bell has hit 261/.349/.466 with an .814 OPS. He averages .271 against righties compared to .232 against lefties.
“We are thrilled to be adding a player of Josh Bell’s caliber to our team,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “He adds a switch-hitting power bat to our lineup. And we know Josh will be an outstanding addition to our clubhouse and our community.”
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