The Washington Nationals are adding a big bat to their lineup, agreeing to a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for first baseman Josh Bell, the teams announced Thursday.
Bell, 28, was an All-Star in 2019, hitting 37 home runs with 116 RBI. He struggled in the shortened 2020 campaign batting .226 with eight home runs and 22 RBI but averaged 25 home runs, 89 RBI and an .836 OPS the prior three seasons.
Washington missed the playoffs in 2020 after winning the World Series the year before and desperately needed to upgrade its lineup to provide some protection for Juan Soto.
Pittsburgh will receive pitching prospects Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean from the Nationals. Crowe, ranked by MLB.com as the organization's No. 3 prospect, reached the majors in 2020 while the 19-year-old Yean (No 6) hasn't pitched above Class A.
Bell fills Washington's vacancy at first base, but the team will still hope to upgrade at a corner outfield spot and perhaps third base, where 23-year-old Carter Kieboom is penciled in. Luis Garcia, 20, is expected to play second after impressing in 40 games last season.
Bell is under team control through the 2022 season.