The Cleveland Guardians, not known for spending too much on free agents, made their move on Tuesday afternoon.
The MLB Winter Meetings set the scene for a lot of surprising moves in recent hours, and the Guardians certainly made one with their addition of first baseman/designated hitter Josh Bell.
Bell is going to Cleveland for the next two seasons and $33 million.
He has the ability to opt out after the 2023 campaign if he wants.
MLB insider Buster Olney praised the signing and said he was a player the Guardians clearly needed.
“Josh Bell is a great fit for the Guardians. They needed a thumper in the middle of their order, and yes, a switch-hitter, a Cleveland lineup tradition,” he tweeted.
Josh Bell is a great fit for the Guardians. They needed a thumper in the middle of their order, and yes, a switch-hitter, a Cleveland lineup tradition.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 6, 2022
Bell is not particularly good with the glove, but as long as he can mash, it probably won’t matter.
Bell Can Provide Some Power
He had a strong season between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres, hitting .266/.362/.422 with 17 home runs and a 123 wRC+, or 23 percent better than the league-average batter.
He also hit 29 doubles and three triples, so while he won’t win a Home Run Derby, he is more than capable of providing some much-needed thump to the Guardians’ lineup.
The move for Bell also gives them flexibility to send Josh Naylor to the DH spot, or have him alternate first base and the DH with Bell.
If they can land a top hitting catcher, they could be hard to stop in the AL Central.
They still have several months of offseason left to achieve that objective.
They are putting together a talented team for 2023.