Houston Astros trade rumors: Josh Bell “has been discussed”

Jun 17, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell (19) hits a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell (19) hits a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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While so many MLB fans are wondering what could happen with Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto at the MLB trade deadline, the Houston Astros are rumored to be in discussions about the possibility of acquiring another Nationals slugger before the August 2 trade deadline.

Houston Astros trade rumors: Could Josh Bell be the answer at first base?

According to a tweet from MLB insider Jon Heyman of The New York Post, the Houston Astros are looking for a boost at first base and catcher as the MLB trade deadline approaches.

First base is where Josh Bell could provide a significant upgrade for the Astros, who enter Saturday’s play with a collective minus-1.1 bWAR at first base this season, ranking 23rd among the 30 MLB teams. Washington, meanwhile, is third in all of baseball with a 2.0 bWAR at first base, thanks largely to Bell, who has collected 425 of the 435 plate appearances for the Nationals at the position this season.

Yuli Gurriel has been the primary first baseman for Houston this season (351 plate appearances) with three other players adding 23 or less plate appearances each while manning the position.

After leading the American League with a .319 batting average last season, the 38-year-old Gurriel has taken a step back this season, slashing .241/.293/.392 with seven homers and 27 RBI. Compare that to the 29-year-old Bell, who is slashing .306/.390/.493 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI and it’s clear to see how trading for Bell would give the Astros a boost at first base.

Bell signed a one-year, $10 million deal with Washington this offseason and is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason. It’s possible that the Astros (or any other team that trades for him) could ink to a long-term deal after acquiring him.

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ESPN insider Jeff Passan has written (subscription required) that Josh Bell “makes a lot of sense” for the Houston Astros. However, Milwaukee and the New York Mets have also been listed as teams with interest in bringing Bell on board at the MLB trade deadline.