1B Josh Bell, Guardians agree on two-year deal, sources say

ByJeff Passan ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

First baseman Josh Bell is in agreement on a two-year, $33 million contract with the Cleveland Guardians, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. Bell has an opt-out clause after the first season.

Bell, 30, has played in 93% of games while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres over the last six years, batting .262/.350/.462 with 127 home runs and 449 RBIs.

Bell joined the Nationals on a one-year, $10 million contract in March and was enjoying a career year through the first four months, batting .301/.384/.493 with 14 home runs in 103 games. But his slash line dropped to .192/.316/.271 after getting dealt to the Padres, ultimately losing some playing time in the postseason.

Bell played in 10 playoff games as the Padres advanced to the National League Championship Series. He hit two runs and finished with a .250 average and five RBIs before the Padres' run ended at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bell's first season with Cleveland will be his eighth in the majors and first in the American League. A native of Irving, Texas, Bell was the No. 61 pick of the 2011 MLB draft by the Pirates. He debuted in the majors on July 8, 2016, and played five seasons with the Pirates. His career season came in 2019, when he hit 37 homers and 116 RBIs with Pittsburgh.

Bell's presence gives the Guardians a slugging switch-hitter to pair with the left-handed-hitting Josh Naylor at first base and at designated hitter. The Guardians, coming off a surprising division championship, were heavily involved in that market, having previously made a run at Jose Abreu, who signed a three-year, $58.5 million deal with the Houston Astros.

Cleveland outlasted the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card series before losing to the New York Yankees in the ALDS in five games.