At long last, it is finally over. Struggling switch-hitting veteran Josh Bell has been traded to the Miami Marlins at the buzzer in a literal deadline deal. The Cleveland Guardians are receiving major league infielder Jean Segura and infield prospect Kahlil Watson. Cleveland will be releasing Segura as this was trade was clearly about not acquiring his services.
Bell's future with the Guardians was already in doubt, but it took a major hit after Cleveland sent Aaron Civale to the Rays for first-base prospect Kyle Manzardo. Almost immediately after the trade was agreed to, it was reported that Bell was made available, but whether or not it would happen prior to the deadline or during the winter. Cleveland was offered a good enough package in return for Bell, ending his time in Cleveland.
The hope when the Guardians signed Bell was that he would be able to recapture his brief form with the Washington Nationals, but instead, it was his career averages that won out. In fact, this is Bell's worst season in the weighted runs created plus department outside of the shortened 2020 season (95 in 2023, 76 in 2020).
With the very likely proposition that Bell would opt into his $16.5 million player option for next season, Cleveland had to get out from under this by any means necessary. There is no way that the Guardians' front office could have justified paying Bell for another year of underperformance. It was obvious very early on that the Guardians would have to move on from their disastrous free agent signings of this past offseason and kudos to the front office for actually finding a way to do it.
As far as what Cleveland is keeping in exchange for Bell, they are getting a former first-round pick from Miami. Watson was ranked as the 11th-best prospect in Miami per MLB Pipeline. Being able to get a player just outside the Top 10 for Bell is a big win for Cleveland. Even if things do not work out with Watson in the long term, getting rid of Bell was an absolute necessity.