josh bell

Kim Klement USA Today Sports

Face Of The Franchise

Bell will gladly be the face of a winner

Jim Colony
March 12, 2018 - 2:18 pm

Turns out LeVeon may not be the only Bell in Pittsburgh with a franchise tag.

Although Major league Baseball does not the official franchise tag designation as the NFL does per its CBA, the Pirates are in the market for a “face of the franchise” after the Andrew McCutchen trade and Josh Bell would seem to fit that bill perfectly.

Like McCutchen was when he was breaking in, Bell is polished, personable, confident without being brash, clearly comfortable in the heart of the batting order and has quickly established himself as the team’s most well-rounded hitter going into just his season full season. Plus, as a switch-hitter, Bell is one Pirates’ face fans will see almost every day.

Bell is coming off a record-setting rookie season – his 26 home runs are the most by a rookie switch-hitter pretty much shattering Chipper Jones’ former record of 23 – and he’s still learning from the veterans.  “I watch guys like Freese and J-Hey, how they go about their business in batting practice from pitch one, that’s pretty easy to pick up on,” Bell says, “and you look at a guy like Sean Rodriguez, he’s out there bustin’ his tail ever day taking ground balls and you appreciate that. He’s earned the right to take days off and he hasn’t.”

So when it comes to being the so-called “face of the franchise,” Bell still defers to teammates who have been around quite a bit longer than he has, but he won’t shy away from it, either.  And Bell is also a realist.  “I feel but we have our work cut out for us this year and I feel like nobody wants to be a face on a losing team.”

But Bell says there is hope.  “As for our future and how we’re going to look, I’m excited about the team that’s going to break (camp) and I’m excited to get going”