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Roberts getting shafted?
There is a change a brewin' at the hot corner in the desert. The D-backs recalled Josh Bell from Triple-A Reno Monday night and put him in the starting lineup, where he went 1-for-3 with two K's. Cody Ransom was designated for assignment.
This isn't a move simply to provide depth, though; Arizona Republic scribe Doug Haller indicates that Kirk Gibson has schemes to use Bell as the starting third basemen for the foreseeable future. "(Bell) will get a lot of playing time, yes," Gibson said. "We'll see how he adjusts."
Ransom gave the Snakes decent production (.269/.345/.577 with four homers and 13 RBIs), but the 36-year-old isn't the answer over the duration of the season. Gibson saw Ransom as more of a utility man, and with Ryan Roberts in the mix, too, Ransom became expendable.
Roberts bloomed in 2011 and shocked most folks by putting up 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 482 at-bats. At 31 years of age, the chances of him repeating that power outburst are remote, and he's not a lock to steal double-digit bases, either.
Tatman - as they call him - is worth holding for the thump he can provide in a utility role in cavernous mixed leagues and NL-only affairs. If the Bell experiment fails, you could easily see Arizona fall back to Roberts at third base.
Bell, 25, doesn't have much experience in The Show - and really no success to speak of; in 223 career at-bats, he's hit .202 with just three home runs and 18 RBIs. All of that came with the Baltimore Orioles, where he was expected to be the third baseman of the future. That obviously didn't happen.
The switch-hitting third sacker has shown he can hit for average and power in the minors, it just hasn't translated to the major league level. But in his defense, he hasn't been given an extended opportunity to prove he belongs. He'll get that now with 'Zona.
Bell earned the promotion with a .381 average (37-for-97) with nine doubles, four dingers and 30 RBIs with Reno in 26 contests. The Pacific Coast League likely amplified his ledger, but Chase Field also profiles as a hitter-friendly environment, which should help.
Making contact has been a huge issue for him in the majors. He cut down dramatically on his strikeouts this year with Reno, and if he can bring that approach to the big club, good things will happen. Don't expect the home runs to come quickly, though.
This may take time, and the D-backs will likely need to be patient. He's a must-grab in NL-only leagues for the fact he's been given the starting gig, and he could bolster your corner-infield depth in deep mixed systems if he succeeds and runs with the opportunity.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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