The Miami Marlins have a new President of Baseball Operations! His name is Peter Bendix. In the meantime, while one slugger declined his player option, another one picked it up instead. First baseman Josh Bell has picked up his $16.5 million for the 2024 season. Is this a good move for The Fish? Is this a bad move?
The Miami Marlins will have Josh Bell back in the lineup during the 2024 season.
Josh Bell had a very inconsistent career up to this point. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from the 2016 to the 2020 season, and has batted a combined .261/.349/.466 for that period. It obviously wasn't a very impressive batting line and had its ups and downs. In 2019, he batted .277/.367/.569 with 37 home runs and 116 RBI. He was also good in 2017, when he batted .255/.334/.466 with 26 home runs and 90 RBI.
In 2021, Josh Bell was now on the Washington Nationals and has batted .261/.347/.476, with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 144 games an 498 AB. He split 2022 between Washington and the San Diego Padres, batting .266/.362/.422 with 17 home runs and 71 RBI. He also wasn't particularly impressive in 2023 with the Cleveland Guardians. He batted .233/.318/.383, with 1 home runs and 48 RBI in 97 games and 347 AB.
Josh Bell came over to the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline, and batted .270/.338/.480. He also had 11 home runs and 26 RBI, and did this in 53 games and 200 AB. He was clearly much better with The Fish, but his overall streaky track record is quite alarming. He followed up the 26 home run 2017 season, with a 12 home run and 62 RBI performance in 501 AB in 2018. Could he be worse in 2024?
Josh Bell was worth just 0.4 WAR in 2023. He did have 22 home runs and 74 RBI, and if he simply does something similar over a full season with The Fish he will be useful. It's obvious that he wasn't making $16.5 million per season on the open market, which is why he picked up his player option. He's an overpay, but in a weak free agent market for hitters, having him locked up on a one year $16.5 million deal is not the worst thing in the world.