Josh Bell has been traded to a Washington Nationals team trying to recreate its 2019 World Series season. But Bell alone isn’t enough to get them there.
The Washington Nationals missed the 2020 playoffs after winning it all in 2019. They have one of the best pitching frontlines in Major League Baseball, but lacked power in 2020.
So they traded for Josh Bell to add some pop into their lineup.
It’s a great move for the Nationals. Bell is a solid player who performed at an MVP caliber level for much of the 2019 season. His 2020 season was less than stellar, but he still hit the ball hard despite a career high strikeout rate. He’ll be an upgrade over Eric Thames and should do a fine job replacing the retiring Howie Kendrick.
But it’s not enough. The Atlanta Braves dominated the NL East in 2020. The Miami Marlins finally began to reap the rewards of their farm system and the New York Mets are looking to make drastic improvements under new owner Steve Cohen.
They could also use an upgrade at third base. Carter Kieboom hasn’t panned out thus far, and Josh Harrison is better suited as a utility man than an every day third baseman. But they have been tied to Eugenio Suarez of the Cincinnati Reds so they may be able to fill that hole on the trade market.
If the Nationals want to keep up, they need to invest heavily in their bullpen and round out the backend of their rotation.
It’s a tall order this off-season. Teams across the league are slashing payroll after losing out on fan revenue in 2020. But for the teams willing to spend, there’s a ton of elite talent on the market. For the Nationals, they can build one of the best bullpens in baseball with guys like Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks, and Blake Treinen. They may even be able to sign them below market value depending on how the market shapes up.
Josh Bell is a nice addition, but he doesn’t bring enough to the table to lead the Washington Nationals back to the playoffs. They need to make some more moves to keep up with the rest of the division.