David Bell Leaves Cardinals to become Giants Farm Director

photo: David Bell (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

San Francisco Giants press release

The San Francisco Giants have named former infielder David Bell their new Vice President of Player Development, club Senior Vice President and General Manager Bobby Evans announced today.

David Bell (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bell, who will oversee the player development area under the direction of Evans, just completed his fourth year on the St. Louis Cardinals coaching staff and his third as the team’s bench coach after serving as assistant hitting coach in 2014. Bell was previously the third base coach for the Chicago Cubs in 2013 after having spent the previous four seasons as a manager and coach in the Cincinnati Reds organization. After a 12-year Major League career, he began his coaching career in 2009 as the Manager for the Reds’ Double-A Carolina team, serving in that position through 2011. He managed the Triple-A Louisville club for the Reds in 2012. Following the 2009 campaign, Bell also managed the Peoria Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League.

“David brings a wealth of experience to this position as a successful major league player, minor league manager, third base coach, hitting coach and most recently as bench coach for the Cardinals the past three seasons”, said Evans. “His presence, leadership and vision will help shape our ongoing strategy and continued commitment to player development. His passion for the game is evident and we are excited to welcome him back into the Giants family.”

Bell, 45, is a member of one of Major League Baseball’s three generation families: the son of Buddy Bell and the grandson of Gus Bell. David’s career began with Cleveland and continued with St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. He played in 35 postseason games, reaching the ALCS with Seattle in both 2000 and 2001 before reaching the World Series with the N.L. Champion San Francisco Giants in 2002.

The former infielder set career highs with 21 home runs and 78 RBI in 1999 with Seattle and batted a career-best .291 with Philadelphia in 2004. He made his Major League debut in 1995 with Cleveland. On January 25, 2002 he was acquired by the Giants from Seattle in exchange for infielder Desi Relaford and cash considerations. Bell played just one season with the Giants in 2002, hitting .261 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI to help San Francisco reach the Fall Classic. He also received the Willie McCovey Award as the Giants’ most inspirational player.

A graduate of Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Bell helped the club to the 1989 state baseball championship. He was drafted by Cleveland in the seventh round of the 1990 draft. He resides in Santa Rosa, California with his wife and two children.

Brian Walton’s take

Essentially this is the farm director position, an important role and a nice career move for Bell.

His departure creates a third opening on the St. Louis Cardinals field staff, with pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley having been fired at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

Now that Bell is gone, the only remaining member of the Cardinals field staff to have coached in another organization at the major or minor league level is assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller, who had prior experience with the Dodgers and Cubs. Homegrown Cards include manager Mike Matheny, first base coach Oliver Marmol, third base coach Mike Shildt and hitting coach John Mabry.

The Cardinals were also the only professional organization to have employed fired pitching coach Derek Lilliquist. Other sacked coaches Chris Maloney and Blaise Ilsley had brief stints with other minor league organizations, but combined for 40 years of service coaching for the Cardinals.

But will the team’s downward trend, with 2018 a potential make-or-break season for Matheny, cause experienced external coaches to be more wary of St. Louis? Even with a long-term contract, a coach may not be wanted by a new field boss, especially if the manager is a veteran with clout who can influence the selection of his staff. Of course, no one can predict the future, but the unsettled situation may be in the back of the minds of some external candidates.

While the organization has been proud of its internal hires, perhaps new blood can be a part of evaporating the concerns by revitalizing manager Mike Matheny’s staff and helping the 2018 Cardinals break their two-season playoff-free stretch.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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