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Overall, in his career, Bell has a .271/.360/.485 line vs RHPs and a .232/.315/.410 line against LHPs.
“Being a switch-hitter only adds to his value as far as keeping the lineup long,” Rizzo added, “… making it more manageable for the field manager, and [Bell is] a guy that we have high expectations for, and we’ve looked at a lot of tape on him. I know [Hitting Coach] Kevin Long has studied him since we alerted him that this was going to be a possibility and he’s ready to touch base with Josh and put a plan together and get working with him really soon.”
Bell said he was equally excited about joining a new organization after spending nine years with the organization that drafted him.
“New team, new journey, new opportunity to play the game I love. So I’m excited for this new chapter and I can’t wait,” Bell told reporters.
Moving away from an organization that finished at or near the bottom of the division over his five major league seasons, to a club that won it all in 2019, and has played meaningful games in September in five of the last nine seasons, is a welcome change.
“Really can’t imagine being drafted by any other team, just because now I’m a first baseman and they were the team that gave me the opportunity, moved me, and really allowed me to develop there,” Bell said.
“It wasn’t always pretty, but I was able to put the work in and I was able to be slotted into the lineup, so definitely thankful.
“It was tough the last couple years, didn’t finish the way that we’d like to, but extremely grateful for the team that drafted me, and I’ll definitely root for them in the future.”
Josh Harrison, who played eight seasons with the Pirates, and was teammates with Bell in Pittsburgh between 2016-18, said the new Nat would benefit from a change of scenery.
“He actually reached out to me that day, excited, reaching out, asking questions,” Harrison told MLB Network Radio hosts Casey Stern and Brad Lidge in a December 30th interview.
“But more than anything, breath of fresh air for him. I’m not saying that he didn’t want to be in [Pittsburgh], but sometimes a change of scenery can be a good thing.” – Josh Harris on Josh Bell leaving Pirates
“But more than anything, breath of fresh air for him. I’m not saying that he didn’t want to be in [Pittsburgh], but sometimes a change of scenery can be a good thing.
“And given that I know the situation that he’s in, he wants to win, and we got a good chance of winning, everybody coming back healthy, and he’s a guy that’s going to be able to help.”
Bell said that in spite of the Pirates’ struggles once he reached the majors, and as the club’s traded off pieces over the last few seasons, he tried to remain focused on the task at hand, instead of worrying if his time would come to get dealt as well.
“I try to focus on things between the lines,” Bell said. “Don’t really try to play GM. I think that there’s a reason why there’s a separation with those regards to the game.
“For me, I was just trying to focus on being the best player I could be. Obviously players that start and finish their careers in the same spot are few and far between.
“Those are — obviously they don’t come along that often, but in regards to me, I was not really focused too far off in the future, but just wanted to be ready whatever jersey I was putting on to be able to compete in-between the lines.”