Texas Rangers: Josh Bell trade is great news for a Joey Gallo deal
By Seth Carlson
The Pittsburgh Pirates sold low on Josh Bell and still got decent value for him. The Texas Rangers should be salivating at this development.
If the Texas Rangers were planning on dealing Joey Gallo at a future juncture, they stand to benefit greatly from one major Christmas Eve transaction.
That would be the trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals which occurred Thursday afternoon, sending first baseman Josh Bell to the nation’s capital in exchange for pitching prospects Eddy Yean and Wil Crowe, according to multiple reports.
Bell, who broke out for Pittsburgh in 2019, regressed significantly in 2020.
The slugging first baseman posted a scant .669 OPS and an 83 OPS+, while hitting just eight home runs in 195 at-bats, all major step-backs from his monster 2019 totals, which included 37 home runs, a .936 OPS and a 142 OPS+ en route to an All-Star nod.
Despite the regression, however, Pittsburgh still received two highly regarded pitching prospects (one MLB ready one in Wil Crowe) for Bell’s services.
All that in a DOWN year.
Of course, the Nationals are banking on the 2019 All-Star rekindling his offensive prowess from that season, rather than the one that looked like a shell of himself in 2020.
The Texas Rangers stand to benefit from the Pirates selling low on one of their stars.
Jon Daniels, Chris Young and everyone in the Texas Rangers’ front office should be rejoicing at the news of this exchange.
Texas has a young, lefty slugger of their own in Joey Gallo, who also happens to be coming off a down year in 2020.
Gallo, like Bell, was also a 2019 All-Star. But Gallo’s numbers that year were even better than the former Pirate’s stats, as he notched a .986 OPS, 145 OPS+ over 241 at-bats.
Bell bested Gallo in the power department in their respective 2019 breakout campaigns, but Bell’s top home run total that season (37) was less than Gallo’s top power output in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons (41 and 40 long balls, respectively).
For added context, Bell has never reached the 40 homer plateau in his career. Gallo has twice.
This is not to knock Bell’s power surge from 2019, as his slugging abilities are absolutely legitimate.
But if Gallo can find his offensive groove again in 2021, combined with his plus defensive abilities in the outfield, the return package Texas could receive in return for their homegrown slugger could top that of what the Pirates received for Bell.
And remember, what the Pirates obtained for Bell coming off a down season was not insignificant.
The Texas Rangers have the potential to cash in big time with a Joey Gallo trade in 2021. Here’s hoping the player is on a mission to bounce back heading into the new year.