We Should Be GMs calls the guy crap, and we already said he ‘can’t hit anything‘ so why am I revisiting this? Simply put, the guy is bad and deserves recognition for being consistently horrible. Sometimes crappy players deserve as much pub as those on the good end of the spectrum.
OK, so David Bell is not quite sucking as much as last year. Oh he’s darn close, but he’s not quite as horrible as he was in 2005. The thing is, that still makes him one of the worst players in the league, and officially the 2nd worst third baseman in the major leaues(and worst in the National League). And Bell is the single biggest problem with the Phillies. Here’s why:
1. He can’t hit. Statistically, he has the 3rd lowest OPS for all qualified third basemen in the majors at 709. Out of other third basemen, only Aaron Boone has less home runs than David does(4). His on-base percentage is .332, which is terrible, and his slugging is not any better(377 and almost nothing if singles are taken away). Ignoring position, he is ranked 154th out of 183 qualified batters, with most of the usual suspects at the bottom of the list. This is where he improved from 2005, when he ranked 142nd out of 148! He has no power and no ability to get on-base, but other than that he’s fucking terrific!
2. He can’t field this year, at all. Last year he was actually a good fielder, achieving a decent zone rating under different measurements and having a quality range factor. He also had a decent fielding percentage. This year he is utterly average in zone rating and range factor, but has the worst fieling percentage in the league, which basically means that he is muffing balls every chance he gets. This was on display during the Mets series when he crapped out two plays in a row, the first time missing the ball go off his glove(which didn’t count as an error) and the second time simply mucking up an easy grounder. The entire team’s defense has floundered this year, and David is a big reason for this turn of events.
3. He can’t be replaced. We have other starting pitchers that we can throw in there. We have excess outfielders if anyone slumps, and young catchers at AA(Jason Jaramillo) and AAA(Carlos Ruiz) to bring up when we finally end the Chris Coste debacle. But we have no option at third base, other than extending a hand to AAA and hoping and praying that Brennan King can accomplish something. Abraham Nunez is doing no better, Chris Coste cannot hit major league pitching, and no one has any reason to suspect that either WILL do any better, so the Phillies are stuck throwing David Bell out there every game. His VORP(value over replacement player) is essentially a wash at -0.7, which means that one can throw anyone out there and expect them to perform at the same level as Bell. But performing at the same level is pointless and does not help this ailing team. But what about a trade, you say? That is certainly out of our hands, and no one can know if Gillick is trying to deal for another third basemen, but right now the only option the Phillies believe they have at third base is David Bell because of his contract(expiring at the end of this season) and the fact that they’ve been going with him for the past 3 years, so they might as well just keep on keeping on.
David Bell is Larry Bowa’s lasting legacy, whether many of Larry’s fans believe it or not. He wanted him here, he loved him in Seattle. He loved the grit, the determination and the BALLPLAYER that is David Bell. Too bad this guy ain’t actually any good, otherwise those intangibles would actually come in handy. For now, the Phillies are stuck with David Bell as their biggest problem because they simply can’t get rid of him or his contract, or find anyone(Chris Coste and Abe Nunez don’t count) to replace him that will give them anything more. David Bell sucks at baseball, too bad we’re paying him to do it for a living.