Image credit: Josh Bell (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
As the final bell sounded on the 2023 trade deadline, the Marlins swung their second deal of the day, acquiring first baseman Josh Bell from Cleveland for infielders Jean Segura—who was immediately released—and 2021 first-round pick Kahlil Watson.
Bell replaces Garrett Cooper, who was dealt to the Padres nearly simultaneously as part of a package that brought lefty Ryan Weathers to Miami.
Josh Bell, 1B
Bell was taken by the Pirates in the second round of the 2013 draft and spent five seasons in Pittsburgh before being traded to the Nationals, who then flipped him to San Diego as part of the Juan Soto blockbuster of 2022. He signed with Cleveland in the offseason and has been a replacement-level player in 2023. At his best, he brings switch-hitting thump that can add a layer of versatility to Miami’s lineup construction.
Kahlil Watson, SS
Watson was the Marlins’ first-round pick in the 2021 draft out of high school in Wake Forest, N.C. His prodigious tools made him one of the top draft prospects in the country, but on draft day he fell to pick No. 16, where Miami scooped him up. His first full season as a pro did not go well. He dealt with significant swing-and-miss issues that led to a strikeout rate of more than 35% at Low-A Jupiter. Worse still, an on-field incident led to a monthlong suspension. Even with the forgettable 2022 season, Watson still ranked as one of the most talented players in the system. His huge bat speed gives him the potential for plus power, and he’s cut his strikeout rate by roughly 8% year over year. He’s likely a second baseman in the big leagues, but his speed and plus arm strength could make him an asset at the position. There’s still a long way to go, but he should fit right in among a Cleveland system with a cache of talented middle infielders.