Yankees Free Agent Target: Josh Bell

The Yankees will be facing a lot of problems head on this offseason (hopefully) and one that might pop up is the departure of Anthony Rizzo. And now most reports sway to believe that Rizzo will opt-out and then resign but we can’t guarantee anything. This article is based upon if Anthony Rizzo does indeed leave the Yankees for some reason and the replacement isn’t that far behind.

Josh Bell of the San Diego Padres plays during a baseball game... News  Photo - Getty Images

Josh Bell has been up and down his whole career and even experienced that this season having a All Star type of season before getting traded to San Diego but that first half showed what type of player Josh Bell could be and in a lineup where he doesn’t need to be everything might actually help Bell to keep hitting for average instead of bailing for power like he did later into the season.

Before getting traded to the Padres, Josh Bell was a unanimous top 10 1st baseman ranking 5th in BA (.301), 5th in OBP (.384), 8th in SLG% (.493), 7th in BB% (11.2%), 8th in wRC+ (143 wRC+) and a 3.0 bWAR. As your eyes can see Josh Bell is a very solid option to replace Rizzo IF the Yankees can get him right because when he gets into a slump he really gets into a slump (sounds familiar).

Being a switch-hitter you probably find one stronger side than the other and that’s just not the case for Bell being a 121 wRC+ as a left handed hitter and a 127 wRC+ hitter as a righty. The Yankees on all the historic rosters (and I’m not comparing Bell to these guys just making a point) who’ve made runs all had switch hitters from Mickey Mantle and Jorge Posada. The ability to have a switch hitter somewhere in the lineup helps a lot with lineup construction and gives Bell way more AB and a lot more opportunity.

With targeting Bell you’re gonna be getting a guy who gets on base at an ELITE clip being in the 93rd percentile in BB% and someone that doesn’t strike out in the 83rd percentile. If you’re looking at Baseball Savant you can say Josh Bell’s savant is more impressive than Rizzo’s and granted Rizzo was plagued with injuries but being devil’s advocate Bell was awful with San Diego with a 79 wRC+.

Josh Bell Baseball Savant
Anthony Rizzo Baseball Savant

After having a fantastic season, Rizzo, currently on a 2 year deal with the opt-out this offseason will be declining $16 M to probably make more money and that just means Bell will be a cheaper option. Most markets seem his value is around that $15 M AAV range and being 30 years old you’re gonna be looking around 3-4 years. But one thing I’ll take into account with resigning Rizzo or signing Josh Bell is in the next year or so the Yankees will be looking to bring up Austin Wells who’s listed as a Catcher but could be seeing time at 1st and another prospect in Trey Sweeney who’s currently in AA is also projected as a 1st Baseman. 

With my last article being about Brandon Nimmo, my main scouting has been looking for guys that don’t fit the recent Yankees mold of one dimensional hitters. Both Bell and Nimmo spray the ball around the field and both find ways to get on base and I really think adding these types of guys is gonna flip things around for this franchise but Bell is still a long shot because I do think Rizzo is gonna resign with the ways he’s talking to press but just wanted to put this out into the air just in case the Yankees can’t ‘Rizz’ up Rizzo. 

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