The Miami Marlins are in the thick of the National League playoff race. They acquired reinforcements at the trade deadline to keep up with the swarm of teams competing for a Wild Cards spot. Josh Bell, who they scooped up from the Cleveland Guardians, has been better than advertised.
Bell is on a six-game hitting streak and has reached base in every single game that he has played with Miami so far. Marlins manager Skip Schumaker loves what Bell brings to the team as both a hitter and a leader.
“He’s fit right in really quick and it hasn’t taken him long to be one of the vocal leaders in there,” Schumaker said previously, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. “And then when he produces after being a vocal leader, that’s when people start buying in on his messaging. He’s been just the perfect fit for us.”
Josh Bell was placed right in the three-spot in Miami's order and hasn’t looked back. He recorded four hits in his Marlins debut and, across 43 total plate appearances in 10 games, has 12 hits (including four home runs and a pair of doubles), eight RBI and an OPS of 1.039. Only one player has hit more homers in his first nine games with Miami. Although he has been a part of a recent five-game losing streak, his power is just what Miami has needed to keep them in stride with other playoff hopefuls.
Luis Arraez's unreal hitting abilities give Bell someone to hit into scoring position or all the way home. Bell also serves as a much-needed power hitter for a team that is below average in slugging percentage, exit velocity and home run percentage. Fellow trade deadline acquisition Jake Burger has hitting power that he has not yet transferred from the Chicago White Sox to the Fish and Jorge Soler has some real pop, too.
The Marlins are now experimenting with using Bell ahead of Arraez in the lineup, putting them in the two and three hole respectively with Jazz Chisholm Jr. leading off and Bryan De La Cruz hitting cleanup. Using Bell's ability to get on base, Miami is hoping that Arraez can be the one to put him in favorable spots on the base paths.
Not only has Josh Bell been great on the field for the Marlins but he has also been great in the clubhouse. That's the impression that the team got before trading for him. The reviews have all come back positive, which fits very well with the surprisingly successful season Miami is having.
“Everybody said this guy had a 10-out-of-10 character and was a hard worker,” Schumaker said, via The Athletic. “He gives you everything he’s got. He’s a winning player. Once you hear ‘winning player’ that’s what we’re trying to add here. The culture we’re trying to create is a winning atmosphere and that’s why I think he blends in so well.”
With the current standings, the Marlins trail the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card race. They’re tied with the Cincinnati Reds and the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres are not too far behind. With Bell and a solid cast of players, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Miami make the playoffs for the first time in a non-shortened season since 2003.