For much of his four years in Philadelphia, David Bell hasn't lived up to expectations. With the Phillies going through a disappointing season of their own, they pulled the plug on Bell on Friday. They sent him to the Brewers in exchange for Class A righthander Wilfrido Laureano.
After hitting .261 with 20 homers in 2002, Bell signed a four-year, $17 million contract with the Phillies--and came close to approaching that production only once, in 2004. In 92 games this year, he has batted .278/.345/.398 with six homers and 34 RBIs. Bell never has hit for a high average or drawn many walks, and now that his power is dwindling he has become a marginal offensive player. He's still a very good defender, with excellent instincts and surprising agility to go with an average arm at third base. He's also capable of playing second base, which will come in handy for a Brewers team wracked by infield injuries. He's the second infielder acquired by Milwaukee in the last four days, joining Tony Graffanino. Bell, who makes $4.5 million this season, becomes a free agent afterward. He's a lifetime .257/.320/.396 hitter with 119 homers and 560 RBIs in 1,350 games.
Laureano, 22, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2001. His best pitch is a big league slider than he can throw in any count. He also has an 88-89 mph fastball, and he's trying to refine a two-seamer and a changeup. At low Class A West Virginia this year, he has gone 3-2, 4.10 with one save in 29 games. He has a 62-36 K-BB ratio in 64 innings, while opponents have hit .223 with eight homers against him.