Chicago Cubs Rumors: Josh Bell could be a target to address offensive need

The Marlins' first baseman could provide some valuable offensive help to the Cubs going forward.
Tampa Bay Rays v Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

With the trade deadline approaching at the end of next month, the Chicago Cubs should begin considering potential moves.

The Cubs currently sit in second place in the NL Central with a 31-32 record. They are half a game ahead of the San Diego Padres for the second wildcard spot and are still very much in the hunt for a division title.

The Cubs have experienced generally inconsistent production at the Designated Hitter spot. Mike Tauchmann may be an answer for them at DH, but if they want to contend, the Cubs need to deepen their offensive options.

Marlins First Baseman Josh Bell is a likely trade candidate, as his team currently sits in last place in the NL East with a 21-41 record. Although he got off to a slow start this year, Bell has been playing well recently with a slash of .341/.380/.528 over his last 28 games. Although he has changed teams often in the last few years, Bell has a track record of being a strong offensive player for his career.

The Cubs could circle back on a past free-agent target at the deadline.

Michael Salfino of The Athletic refers to Bell as "the poor man's Vladimir Guerrero Jr.", citing his relatively low strikeout rate and solid power numbers. Salfino also states that although Bell is struggling against left-handed pitching this season, it has not been a major problem over the rest of his career.

Michael Busch, the Cubs' current first baseman, is having a solid year with an OPS+ of 118 while providing good defense at first base. If Bell provides above-average offense, however, the Cubs will have a reliable DH option that can fill in at first base on Busch’s off-days or be a solid bench bat.

The Marlins will almost certainly be sellers at the deadline and will likely accept one or two mid-level prospects from the Cubs in a trade for Bell. Right-handed starter Brandon Birdsell has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate, and the Marlins would likely accept as they look to rebuild their team for future seasons. 

If the Cubs are buyers at the deadline, Bell should not be the biggest piece they go after, but he can serve as a relatively cheap power bat and be a solid contributor as the Cubs make a push for the division and a postseason run.