Josh Bell and Josh Harrison have history from their time together in Pittsburgh, but who else in D.C. does the now-former Pirates’ first baseman know as he heads down south for his first Spring Training in West Palm Beach, FL’s FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches?
Turns out Bell is friendly or at least familiar with a number of Washington Nationals, which is really not that surprising considering he’s played with or against a bunch of them while they were coming up and over his first five years in the majors.
“I definitely played with [Daniel] Hudson a few years back,” Bell told reporters when he and GM Mike Rizzo talked on a Zoom call after Christmas, “... and then I know Trea Turner over the years, we went to the rookie development camp together, we played against each other in the minor leagues, as well as [Wilmer] Difo, played against him a ton in the minor leagues. He was another switch-hitter, so you always have your fingers crossed, and you’re always looking up at the scoreboard, seeing what his batting average was, trying to hope that you have 10 or 20 points on him.”
Bell said he was champing at the bit to get to Spring Training and get started on what both he and the Nationals are hoping will be a bounce-back campaign for the 28-year-old whose 2020 numbers were off a bit from what he’s done in the past.
“I know that I’m excited, there’s a great group of guys there. Those are the guys that I know.
“I saw a few guys at the All-Star Game last year, and definitely excited to really start shaking hands and really getting to know the guys.”
That’s still weeks away, of course, but it’s getting closer every day. Go read your links...
Kevin Long on preparing for 2021 - (MLB.com)
"Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long talks about getting the players ready for the 2021 season and having a chance to work with Josh Bell."
Nationals hitting coach thinks Juan Soto will be ‘one of the best’ players ever - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Now, going into his age-22 season, Soto is among the favorites to take home the 2021 honor of best player in the National League."
Am told the #Nationals are one of the teams that will scout free agent Corey Kluber when he throws in Florida next week. Washington needs back-end rotation help.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) January 5, 2021
Nationals could add another jewel to their rotation with Corey Kluber - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Nationals are one of 'double-digit' teams that plan to attend free agent starter Corey Kluber’s throwing session in Florida next week, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reported Tuesday."
Nationals first baseman Josh Bell has evolved as a player - (WaPost)
“Bell arrived in a Christmas Eve trade that gave Washington a needed middle-of-the-order bat.”
Nats keep eye on Venezuela for top-flight prospects - (MASN)
"Assistant general manager of player development Mark Scialabba said every Latin American scouting destination is crucial to the growth of the Nationals as a franchise."
Could the Nats bring back any of their own free agents? - (MASN)
"The Nationals already brought back one guy who could’ve departed: Josh Harrison, who signed a one-year deal very early in the offseason. Otherwise, they’ve stayed away from their own free agents so far."
A Flimsy Excuse To Write About Juan Soto - (FanGraphs)
"Perhaps my favorite part of Soto’s game is how it feels like you can think along with him."
Cole Henry Makes Mental Strides In Instructional League - (Baseball America)
"Henry has a fastball that touches 97 mph, a plus changeup and a 12-to-6 curveball that isn’t quite as consistent as his change."
The best trade candidate at every position - (MLB.com)
"Castro should open the season as Washington’s everyday second baseman, and if the Nats are competitive as expected, it seems unlikely they would move him."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Phils sign 4 to Minor League deals, ST invites - (MLB.com)
"The Phillies need to hit on more than a few low-risk acquisitions to compete in the National League East in 2021. Maybe Neftalí Feliz will be one of them."
Doc Gooden’s Epic Brawl with Philly - (Mets YouTube)
"Mets and Phillies get into a heated fight as the benches empty at Shea Stadium after Mets pitcher Doc Gooden is hit by a pitch from the Phillies’ Pat Combs."
MLB rumors: Justin Turner seeking four-year contract; Mets interested in Brad Hand - (CBSSports.com)
"Back in November, team president Sandy Alderson said the Mets might have claimed Hand and his $10 million club option on waivers in October 'if the timing had been a little different.'"
Marlins mull power bats to fill RF (sources) - (MLB.com)
"The Marlins are expressing interest in former All-Star outfielders Yasiel Puig and Adam Duvall, according to the latest round of Hot Stove rumors."
Babe Ruth ends career with Boston Braves - (MLB.com)
"Sixteen years after being sold to the Yankees because the Red Sox owner was hurting financially, Babe Ruth returned to Boston to aid a cash-strapped Braves owner."