Heading into the trade deadline, the Blue Jays seemed like a team poised to add a left-handed bat considering the lineup was currently dominated by a ton of right-handed hitters. There were a few options on the market, one being Cubs outfielder Ian Happ, while the other was Washington Nationals’ first baseman Josh Bell, who was having a terrific season with the Nats prior to being traded (and one that I thought made perfect sense for the Jays).
While it was never really confirmed that the Jays were interested in Bell, his play and stats this season checked quite a few boxes. He could platoon with Guerrero Jr. at first base/DH while also playing in the corner outfield spots if need be while being able to hit from both sides of the plate, owning a .301/.384/.493 slash line with a .877 OPS heading into the August 2nd deadline. The power was not there compared to recent seasons (just 14 home runs on the year) but he was a lefty-bat who could get on base and bring runs in, evident by his 57 RBI and 49 walks compared to 61 strikeouts with the Nationals.
Bell would be traded to the San Diego Padres as part of the blockbuster Juan Soto deal and it is safe to say the change of scenery is still taking some getting used to.
Through 58 at-bats with his new club, Bell has just seven hits and only two RBI through 16 games. His OPS with the Padres is standing at a stark .405 while he only has two extra-base hits with his new club. Bell is still finding ways to get on base, walking 10 times compared to 14 strikeouts, but his ground ball percentage has widely increased since heading out west, rising from 48.7% to 68.2% in just a few weeks’ time.
There is still lots of time left in the season to turn things around but the early impressions for Bell are not looking good, especially with the Texas product set to hit free agency at the end of the season.