The Washington Nationals acquired first baseman Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-handed pitcher Wil Crowe and right-handed pitcher Eddy Yean on Thursday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Bell, 28, joins the Nationals after five seasons with the Pirates including the 2019 season in which he was named a National League All-Star. In those five seasons, he hit .261 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage with 105 doubles, 13 triples, 86 home runs and 309 RBI across 552 games.
“We are thrilled to be adding a player of Josh Bell’s caliber to our team,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “He adds a switch-hitting power bat to our lineup. And we know Josh will be an outstanding addition to our clubhouse and our community."
During his All-Star season of 2019, Bell ranked among National League hitters in RBI (6th, 116), extra-base hits (T6th, 77), doubles (8th, 37), home runs (9th, 37), slugging percentage (9th, .569) and OPS (10th, .936). His 60 extra-base hits prior to the All-Star break were the most ever by a National League player and tied with Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (60 in 1994) for the fourth-most by any player in Major League history.
Since making his Major League debut in 2016, Bell’s .466 career slugging percentage ranks fourth among switch-hitters, while his 309 RBI rank sixth and his 86 home runs are tied for seventh. In five seasons, Bell has hit .271/.360/.485 as a left-handed batter .232/.315/.410 as a right-handed batter.
In 2020, Bell hit .226 with three doubles, eight home runs, 22 RBI, 22 walks and 22 runs scored in 57 games. He finished the season strong, going 19-for-66 (.288) with a double, four homers, eight RBI, nine walks and nine runs scored in 21 games from Sept. 6 through Sept. 27.
Bell finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 after leading National League rookies in hits (140), doubles (26) and walks (66). He ranked second in home runs (26), RBI (90), runs (75), triples (6) and total bases (256). His 26 home runs were the most by a switch-hitting rookie in National League history.
A native of Irving, Texas, Bell was selected in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Dallas Jesuit College Preparatory School. He was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2014 and 2016, and participated in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures game in Minnesota in 2014.
Crowe, 26, is Washington’s No. 10 prospect according to Baseball America. He made his Major League debut in 2020, going 0-2 with a 11.88 ERA in three starts for the Nationals.
Yean, 19, is rated by Baseball America as Washington’s No. 8 prospect. In two professional seasons, he is 3-5 with a 4.70 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) between the DSL Nationals, GCL Nationals and short-season Single-A Auburn.
The Nationals have 34 players on their 40-man roster.