Bell signed a one-year, $6.35 million deal with the Nationals on Friday to avoid arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The 28-year-old was acquired by Washington from Pittsburgh on Christmas Eve and will avoid arbitration with his new team. Bell struggled in 2020 with a .669 OPS and career-worst 26.5 percent strikeout rate, but he should have every chance to rebound as the clear starter at first base.
Bell was traded from the Pirates to the Nationals in exchange for Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe on Thursday, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. If the Nationals are getting the 2019 version, Bell will be a big addition, as he hit a career-high 37 homers while slashing .277/.367/.569. His numbers cratered across the board in 2020's shortened campaign, however, as he hit just eight homers in 57 games and posted a .226/.305/.364 slash line. His strikeout rate soared from 19.2 percent to 26.5 percent while his walk rate fell to a career-low 9.9 percent. That makes the first baseman a rather risky fantasy option heading into the 2021 season, but he still has plenty of upside, especially as he's now left one of the league's toughest parks and worst lineups behind.
Bell went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run in the Pirates' 7-0 win over the Cubs on Thursday. Batting right-handed, Bell took Kyle Ryan deep to extend the Pirates' lead to 6-0 in the fifth inning. It marked the slugger's eighth long ball and brought him to 21 RBI on the campaign.
Bell is not in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Cubs. Bell sits after going 0-for-19 with nine strikeouts in his last seven games, dragging his season slash line down to .221/.296/.354. Colin Moran starts at first base Wednesday, with Jose Osuna serving as the designated hitter.
Bell is out of the lineup for Game 1 of Friday's doubleheader against the Cardinals. Bell started the past 14 games and has a 1.024 OPS during that stretch, but he'll take a seat for Friday's matinee. Jose Osuna receives the start at first base in Game 1.