Bell exercises option to stay with Marlins

November 5th, 2023

Marlins first baseman/designated hitter exercised his $16.5 million player option and will remain with the club in 2024, the club announced Saturday.

A free-agent target of Miami last offseason, Bell instead signed a deal with Cleveland, where he posted a 96 OPS+ in 97 games. The Marlins acquired the 31-year-old switch-hitter ahead of the Trade Deadline, and he, along with fellow addition Jake Burger, turned into a key middle-of-the-order bat down the stretch run.

In 53 games, Bell matched his home run total (11) with the Guardians and collected 26 RBIs, recording a 119 OPS+ and playing an important role in the Marlins' first postseason berth in a full season in 20 years.

“I'm just going to unplug for the next few weeks and enjoy family and talk with my agent, talk with my family about what happens next,” Bell said following the club's sweep at the hands of the Phillies in the National League Wild Card Series. “Had a really good time here, but I’ve got to make decisions for my little ones and whatnot. We'll see what happens, and I'm definitely excited for when that time comes.”

It's a welcome return after All-Star designated hitter Jorge Soler declined his option earlier in the week. Had the Marlins missed out on both Soler and Bell, the club would have had to find a way to replace 47 homers and 101 RBIs. Despite that duo's production, Miami still scored the fifth-fewest runs and was tied for the eighth-fewest home runs in MLB in 2023.