1. Josh Bell
Josh Bell is under contract for one more season with the rebuilding Washington Nationals.
He’s a little Luke Voit-esque, but beyond that, it’s hard to find a bad word to say about him, especially after a rebound 2021 (and being Voit-esque is only a bad thing in the eyes of the Yanks!).
Worth 3.1 WAR last year, Bell slugged 27 homers, batted .261, OBP’d .347 and posted a largely silent 124 OPS+. Oh, and perhaps craziest of all, he struck out just 101 times in 144 games last season. In fact, his career-high is 118. The man makes a good deal of contact!
Would you like to hear the Baseball Savant profile? Of course you would. Quick summary: he murdered the baseball last year with remarkable consistency.
92nd percentile average exit velocity, 93rd percentile hard-hit percentage, 82 xBA, 79 xSLG … the only thing he doesn’t do well is sprint quickly. If you trade for Bell, you’re acquiring a surprisingly decent glove who rockets baseballs across the yard.
Only issue? Washington managed to acquire Bell at a discount last offseason, and they’ll need a haul for him to be convinced to part ways with one of their better assets.
It’s quite possible the Nats won’t want to drop Bell until the trade deadline, taking full advantage of the league’s desperation. Maybe the Yankees can use his single year of control as a counter-measure, though, prying him loose for, say … Luis Gil, Brandon Lockridge, and Estevan Florial?
Oh, and he’s a switch-hitter.
Last offseason, we didn’t see the point in adding Bell with Voit still in tow. Hand up. We were wrong … but we also had no idea about Voit’s degenerative knee. Now, if Brian Cashman could get his hands on Bell, we don’t think he’d balk at the idea.