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Some think former Phillies 3B David Bell could succeed Bruce Bochy, per report

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Ready for a blast from the Philadelphia Phillies past? 

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, former Phillies third baseman David Bell, who is the San Francisco Giants new vice president of player personnel, is seen by some as a possible successor to manager Bruce Bochy: 

David Bell, who lives in Northern California, has been hired for the front office, and someone familiar with the situation says there is speculation he could become a candidate to replace legendary manager Bruce Bochy. Bochy has two years to go on his contract at a sport-high $6 million, so the Giants probably won’t have to worry about that for a couple more years.

Bell, who is the last Phillie to hit for the cycle, is 45 years old. Joining the front-office may allow him to become more well-rounded, as he has a good amount of coaching experience already. From 2008-2011, he was a manager in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system. In 2012, he was the Chicago Cubs third base coach under Dale Sveum. He's spent the past four years on Mike Matheny's staff with the St. Louis Cardinals, including a three-year stint as their bench coach. 

Joining the front-office and developing a strong working relationship with general manager Bobby Evans and executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean could help him to gain an edge when the managerial job becomes open. New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler didn't have nearly the coaching experience that Bell has, but developed a strong relationship with the most important decision makers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This led to him being interviewed for their managerial vacancy in 2015 and being recommended to the Phillies when they began their managerial search this offseason. 

It's unclear when Bochy, who is 62, wants to stop managing. He's a three-time World Series champion, so there's one school of thought that says he should be able to manage as long as he wants. However, there's another school that says that the Giants had the worst record in the National League in 2017 and Bochy has had some health issues in recent years. He's under contract through 2019, and it feels likely he will finish that contract. It's possible that after his deal is up, however, the team may look in another direction than Bochy, who has managed the team since 2007. 

Bell joined the Phillies on a four-year/$17 million contract following the 2002 season. At that time, that was quite a large contract, and came in addition to the Phillies trading for Kevin Millwood and signing Jim Thome that same offseason. Those three, in addition to Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins, were supposed to lead the Phillies back to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. While some of the aforementioned names were on the 2007 team that broke a 15-year playoff drought, Bell wasn't able to help the Phillies get over the hump during his tenure with the team. 

Injuries limited Bell to just 85 games for the Phillies in 2003, and he wasn't especially effective during the rest of his tenure with the team. His best season with the club came in 2004, when propelled by a strong second half, he hit .291 with 18 home runs and 77 RBIs for Larry Bowa's club. Prior to the 2006 non-waiver trade deadline, Pat Gillick traded Bell to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he played the final 53 games of his 12-year career. 

Bell's father, Buddy, was a five-time All-Star as a player, and has managed three different organizations. He currently works in the front-office of the Reds. His grandfather, Gus, was a four-time All-Star himself, and is a member of the Reds Hall of Fame. Bell was one of many players who come from baseball families that was linked to PEDs in the 2000s, as a Sports Illustrated report connected him to the Applied Pharmacy scandal in 2007. 

The former third baseman was on the 2002 San Francisco Giants team, the one that Barry Bonds led to Game 7 of the World Series. Suffice to say, he had a much better reputation with Giants fans than he did in Philadelphia. 

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