The Cleveland Guardians agreed to a 2-year, $33M dollar deal with 1B Josh Bell on Tuesday. Cleveland is fresh off of a 2022 playoff appearance but had aspirations of improving the lineup during the offseason. The addition of Bell provides the Guardians with a switch-hitting former All-Star who can provide protection for Jose Ramirez in the lineup.
The Guardians had previously been linked to Josh Bell in free agency. But they were also reportedly interested in Jose Abreu before he signed in Houston with the Astros. But Cleveland’s deal with Bell says a lot about where they believe they stand right now.
Heading into 2022, their franchise direction was unclear. The Guardians had MLB’s youngest roster and called-up the most rookies to the big leagues during the season. But Cleveland’s youth was not intimidated and ultimately upset the Chicago White Sox to win the AL Central. The Guardians went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Series before getting edged out in 5 games against the New York Yankees in the ALDS.
But Josh Bell is joining a team with a bright future. Jose Ramirez is a perennial MVP candidate, while players such as Andres Gimenez and Steven Kwan emerged as stars in 2022. Meanwhile, the pitching is amongst the best in baseball with Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie leading the rotation and Emmanuel Clase headlining the bullpen.
Josh Bell may not be the only star who ends up joining the Guardians this offseason. We will continue to provide updates on Cleveland’s free agency.