Phillies sign Bell to four-year deal

Nov. 24, 2002 at 3:47 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- David Bell has accepted a four-year, $17 million deal from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bell, who had 20 home runs and 73 RBI for the San Francisco Giants last season, will receive $3 million in 2003, $4.2 million in 2004 and $4.5 million in 2005 along with a signing bonus worth $800,000.

The Phillies were shopping for a third baseman to replace Scott Rolen, who was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals last July after refusing a multi-year contract extension.

Philadelphia General Manager Ed Wade has been the most active player in the free agent market, tendering offers to first baseman Jim Thome, who had 52 homers and 118 RBI with the Cleveland Indians last season, and Tom Glavine, the two-time Cy Young Award winner of the Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies offered Thome a five-year contract worth $75 million and Glavine is pondering a three-year deal worth $27 million.

The 30-year-old Bell has played in the postseason each of the last three years, starting for the Seattle Mariners in 2000 and 2001 before joining the Giants last season. He hit .304 with two home runs, six RBI and a .418 on-base percentage in 17 postseason games for the National League champions. In 35 career playoff games, Bell hit .282 with three homers and 13 RBI.

A veteran of eight seasons with four different teams, Bell provides the Phillies with a clutch bat and a steady glove. He hit .317 with runners in scoring position and ranked third among NL third baseman with a .973 fielding percentage last season.

For his career, Bell owns a .256 average with 81 home runs and 351 RBI in 880 games for Cleveland (1995, 1998), St. Louis (1995-98), Seattle (1998-2001) and San Francisco.

Bell's father and grandfather were major league All-Stars. His dad, Buddy, was a four-time All-Star third baseman during an 18-year major league career and his grandfather, Gus, was a four-time All-Star outfielder during his 15 seasons in the NL (1950-64).

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