With the acquisition of Josh Bell the Washington Nationals have a big bat. With what Bell will be earning in salary next year, there is plenty of money left to pay another one.
Christmas came early for the Washington Nationals this year. Manager Dave Martinez was able to open a present a day early, and in that glorious wrapping paper was a 6-4, 250 pound, power hitting first baseman, named Josh Bell.
Days ago general manager Mike Rizzo went public saying the number one priority this offseason was acquiring a big bat.
Big bat acquired. In his All-Star campaign of 2019, Bell hit 37 home runs and drove in 116, ending the year with an OPS of .936. In 2020, Bell struggled some, hitting only eight home runs in 57 games, while batting a career low .226. The Nationals pounced, throwing two minor league pitchers at the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for the services of Josh Bell.
What’s better than acquiring a power hitter, while not giving up major league ready talent? Getting a power hitter with two years of team control, who will be earning relatively close to peanuts this year. Spotrac has Bell making $6M this coming season. This affords the Nationals some financial flexibility to go after another big bat in free agency.
On multiple occasions this offseason Rizzo has said the financial situation is fluid for the Nationals. He has also said he has been approved to field a championship caliber team. In this day and age, that means spending money to get the game’s best talent.
The Nationals still have needs. Unless recently signed Welington Castillo is the backup catcher, a backstop is needed. An outfielder and a pitcher for the starting rotation have to be found either through trades or free agency as well.
If the Nationals don’t want to part with prospects, they can offer a little more money in free agency, now that they have landed their first baseman at a good price. Look for the Nationals to sign another big bat, in the form of an outfielder.
In 2020 the Nationals lacked home run hitters. In 2021, the Nationals will be hitting a lot of home runs. Book it.