Josh Bell’s trade stock has taken a hit since last season, but Washington should still check in on the asking price. In 2019, Bell broke out hitting .277, with 37 homers, 116 RBIs, and an OPS of .936. 2020 saw Bell hit a measly .226, with eight homers, 22 RBIs, and an OPS of .669. Despite his down year, Bell still has two years left of arbitration and has shown flashes of what he can do at the plate.
The downside to Bell is his defense. In his career, he has -32 DRS and an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of -19.9. With an already average at best defensive infield, Washington will need Bell’s bat to carry his defense.
A reason to be optimistic about Bell bouncing back if he was traded, is that he would be following in the footsteps of former Pirates. Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, and Austin Meadows all come to mind. Cole was inconsistent with the Pirates, but when he was traded, he became an entirely different pitcher. Glasnow and Meadows were two former top prospects that had failed to flourish in Pittsburgh. However, when they were traded to Tampa, both of them turned into top players at their respective position. While it is unlikely Bell turns into a superstar, a change of scenery would be beneficial for the 28-year-old. With the Pirates, he has been leaned on to be the heart of the lineup. In Washington, he wouldn’t have that added pressure, instead, he would be used as protection for Juan Soto.