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Bell's Knell: 3b traded to Milwaukee

Many of us have complained for a long time now about David Bell, the third baseman whose poor, injury-marred seasons in 2003 and 2005 arguably kept the Phils out of the playoffs both years. We won't have him to kick around anymore: after tonight's 4-1 loss to Florida, Bell was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for a minor league pitcher named Wilfrido Laureano.

From the numbers, Laureano looks like an underwhelming prospect: the 62 strikeouts in 63.2 innings for low-A West Virginia look good, but the 36 walks and 8 homers, not so much. He is 6'6, 170, so he might fill out, gain a little more velocity and perhaps learn control. But I don't think Laureano is really the idea here. What the deal really does is, one, save a little money, as Milwaukee picks up all the remaining $1.8 million or so Bell is owed for 2006; and two, give Pat Gillick and the brass a chance to evaluate Abraham Nunez in a regular role.

Yeah, I'm gagging as I write that. But as bad as Abe has been--and at .157, with a .424 OPS, he's been atrocious--he's been worse as a pinch-hitter than as a starter. Off the bench, Nunez is 5-39 (.128), with a .350 OPS. Now, it's worth worrying that Nunez might have a superficially decent two months--maybe approximating his better stretch for St. Louis filling in for Scott Rolen last season--and thus claim a regular job for 2007. But I don't see that happening... which really just means more agonizing baseball to watch (or not) for the rest of 2006.