MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins have checked another big item off their offseason to-do list, announcing the hiring of Mike Bell to serve as their bench coach Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Bell, manager Rocco Baldelli’s new right-hand man, will slot into the vacant bench coach position that has been open since late November when Derek Shelton was hired to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bell, 45, comes to the Twins from Arizona, where he just completed his third season as the Diamondbacks’ Vice President of Player Development.
Bell was with the Diamondbacks for 13 seasons, and has spent 27 seasons in professional baseball dating back to 1993 when he was the Texas Rangers’ first-round draft pick. Bell had a brief major league career, appearing in 19 games for the Reds in 2000. He played in parts of 13 minor league seasons, retiring in 2005.
Bell is the brother of Reds manager David Bell. His father, Buddy Bell, had a lengthy playing career before managing the Tigers, Rockies and Royals, and his grandfather Gus played for the Pirates.
His hiring leaves the Twins with just one coaching vacancy remaining. The Twins lost Shelton to the Pirates, hitting coach James Rowson to the Miami Marlins and assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner to the New York Mets. The Twins promoted Edgar Varela to hitting coach and now just need to fill Hefner’s spot.
“These are the guys that make the most direct impact with our players on a regular basis,” Baldelli said last week at the Winter Meetings. “They’re going to be impactful hires when we make them.
A focus for the Twins at the Winter Meetings last week in San Diego had been centered around filling out the staff. At that point, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said they had been working through the vetting process.
“Every staff is going to be completely different. You might have some of the same returning members and those guys are continuing to always better themselves in a lot of ways and they become better staff members as time goes on, but the way everyone interacts together will be different year to year,” Baldelli said. “I always say also you’re not trying to replace people. You’re trying to add new people with new personalities and new strengths and let them go and do their thing and hopefully achieve greatness, actually.”