WASHINGTON (AP) – Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says the team does not rule out a reunion with Ryan Zimmerman after acquiring slugger Josh Bell to play first base this week.
The Nationals bought Bell, an All-Star in 2019, from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday for two pitching opportunities, and Bell was introduced to Washington reporters at a video call on Saturday.
Rizzo praised the switching Bell for his talent and makeup, saying the 28-year-old “exemplifies everything we try to do here in Washington.” Bell beat .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBI, but fought his way through the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“This fulfills a large part of our wish list to get this mid-made bat,” said Rizzo.
It also leaves the door open for Zimmerman to return after the 36-year-old opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the family’s safety in the midst of the pandemic. He told The Washington Post this month that he wants to return in 2021 for a 16th major league season – the previous 15 have all been with the Nationals.
The rightful first baseman beat .257 with six home runs for the 2019 World Series Champions
“The acquisition of Josh Bell will not stop us from looking for a good right-handed hitter who comes off the bench or plays multiple positions,” said Rizzo.