Josh Bell is one of the best bats available ahead of the MLB trade deadline. The Washington Nationals first baseman is ninth in the league in both batting average (.315) and OPS (.906) with 12 home runs for the Nats.
Bell is a free agent after this season, so it makes all the sense in the world for Mike Rizzo to trade him. The slugging first baseman’s stock is rising at just the right time.
Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier discussed Bell's excellent month of June and his future on the latest episode of Bustin' Loose Baseball.
“His asking price – I feel like on both fronts, both in terms of trade and maybe in terms of a contract for somebody here after the season – might be going up,” Rouhier said (1:04 in player above). “Josh Bell is having an unbelievable offensive season.”
Bell joined the Nationals last season and struggled after feeling the effects of COVID in spring training. Since then, he’s been swinging a hot bat.
From May 1st of last year through July 5th, Bell is batting .293 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI in 211 games. That’s a 162-game pace of 28 home runs and 99 RBI.
That’s all the more reason for the Nationals to move him.
“You have to trade Josh Bell. It’s not a want to. It’s a need to. And frankly I don’t think they have a choice,” Paulsen said.
Bell has been a consistent offensive performer for the Nationals over the past 13 months and he just had one of the best months of his career.
“The asking price may be going up,” Rouhier continued. “You could be talking about a guy that could be knocking on the door of the major leagues here within the next season or two.”
The universal DH opens up the market a bit more for a guy like Bell. He is able to play in the field at first base but now NL teams can also slot him in as the DH.
“I think they’ll get multiple players back,” Paulsen said. “Ideally, one of them’s gonna end up being a starter at the major-league level, hopefully, if they can hit a home run on the Josh Bell trade.”