For the first time in nearly a decade, the Diamondbacks will have a new farm director.
Mike Bell, who ascended to the post in November 2010, left the organization in December to become the bench coach for the Twins.
With his exit, 37-year-old Josh Barfield will replace Bell atop the player development ladder for the D-backs. Barfield spent the past two seasons as Bell’s top assistant.
Bell, 45, said he had a desire to return to the dugout during the past couple of seasons.
“In the role that I was doing, I was totally immersed in it and loved it,” Bell said. “But being in the clubhouse again, in the dugout, that closely linked to your teammates and the guys, there’s just a draw to it.”
Bell’s tenure spanned three front offices. He was named to the post by Kevin Towers and stayed on throughout the next two regimes. That longevity across regimes is rare in today’s game.
Bell’s name began to make the rounds as a managerial candidate, and over the previous two winters he interviewed for vacancies with the Rangers, Orioles and Mets. He hopes to eventually get an opportunity to manage, an idea he says was nurtured by D-backs general manager Mike Hazen in recent seasons.
“I thought a long time ago, once I moved into the office, that I had made my bed and that was what I was going to do and I was content and happy with that,” Bell said. “In talking with Haze, he kind of opened my mind up that I could do more than that if I chose to.”
Bell said the time felt right for him to leave—in no small part because of the connection he felt during conversations with Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and Minnesota’s front office—but he also said the timing works well for Barfield.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s ready to do it,” Bell said. “He’s very outgoing. The staff really likes him. They care for him and respect him. He has great relationships with players. I think he sees the game really well.”