With a gaping chasm at first base in 2020 and the impending retirement of 2019 incumbent Ryan Zimmerman, the Washigton Nationals traded away a pitcher (Wil Crowe) and a prospect (Eddie Yean) to acquire 2019 N.L. All-Star Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 26-y.o. Crowe was drafted in 2nd Rd. of the 2017 Draft out of the Univ. of South Carolina after pitching three seasons in four years, suffering the requisite Nats elbow to miss the 2016 season. He rose to AA in his second season, going 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA in five starts after an 11-0, 2.69 mark in 15 starts for High-A Potomac.
Crowe split 2019 between AA and AAA with a 7-6 mark in the former (16GS) and an 0-4 mark in the latter (10GS). Crowe made his MLB debut on August 22 this past summer but lost two of three games started while giving up 13 runs on 14 hits and eight walks with five HR’s and eight strikeouts.
Yean also joined the Nats in 2017, signing for $100K as an IFA (hey, that rhymes!) and worked his way from the D.R. to upstate N.Y. over two short seasons. He had reportedly gained 50 pounds from 2017 to 2020 and, according to BA, touching 97 on the radar gun.
Meanwhile, it would appear that the Nats are counting on Bell, who slumped to a .669 OPS with 8 HRs in 57G last summer, to return to his 2019 form (37 HRs in 143G while posting an OPS of .936. The 28-y.o. Bell played in 148G in 2018 and 159G in 2017, which would provide a stability not seen at 1B for the Nats since Adam LaRoche averaged 149G played from 2012 to 2014.