This move involving Bell was announced by Rick Hahn, who was promoted from assistant general manager last Friday to begin his tenure as senior vice president/general manager. It took place one day before the scheduled start of the club's organizational meetings in Arizona.
In Bell's new role, he will assist with the Major League roster and staffing decisions and undertake amateur and special assignment scouting assignments in addition to maintaining his current responsibility of overseeing the player development system. Bell just finished his ninth season in the organization and his first as vice president of player development and special assignments, pointing out Friday that while his new position will evolve, he doesn't believe it will change a great deal from what he did last year.
"About the only change I can see is being more involved in Major League decisions with personnel or staffing," Bell said. "With [director of player development Nick Capra] and [Minor League field coordinator Kirk Champion] doing a lot of the [player development] stuff and me overseeing it, that's going to stay the same.
"I love the amateur scouting, and I'll still be involved in that. Twenty years ago, if you would have asked me if I would enjoy amateur scouting, we would have went to something different real quick. I really, really like doing that, along with player development. It's a passion of mine.
"That will still take a lot of my time, which I like," Bell said. "I like being busy, and this particular title gives me a chance to do a lot of different things."
From 2009-11, Bell served as director of player development after serving as director of Minor League instruction in 2008. He held that same post with the White Sox from 1991-93.
Prior to joining the White Sox, Bell spent 13 seasons on Major League staffs, including nine as manager of Detroit (1996-98), Colorado (2000-02) and Kansas City (2005-07). He played 18 seasons in the Majors with Cleveland, Texas, the Reds and Houston and was a five-time All-Star and won six consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards from 1979-84.
Bell doesn't envision traveling as much in the new position, aside from maybe making a few more trips with the Major League team after taking just one in 2012. He looks forward to continuing a strong working relationship with Hahn.
"One of the great things about Rick is he's obviously very intelligent, but he's a great listener," Bell said. "I've had a great relationship with Rick from the very beginning.
"Last season it changed a little bit, in that I did get involved a little more in the Major League end of things and Rick became more involved in the Minor League end. He got more comfortable with what we were doing.
"But our front office is fairly inclusive anyway," Bell said. "It makes it easy for relationships when everybody is kind of involved in a lot of things. Rick and my relationship is easy for a lot of different reasons."
Before the call finished, Bell offered up his opinion on a few more pertinent topics.
On Brent Morel returning to third: "When you have a back issue, it's hard to do anything, especially play baseball and third base. You are up and down and moving side to side. He had some hitting issues, and he developed bad habits because of [the back issue]. The problem is can he break those bad habits he got into mechanically? It will be easier to do that if he's healthy. We are still counting on him to do something for us."
On his son, David, being named Cubs third-base coach: "David has a daughter and son. I tell David that it's nice to have him in Chicago, but I'm really saying it's nice to have my grandkids in Chicago. I'm happy for him, proud of him. He's a good kid and a good baseball man. The Cubs are lucky to have him."
On Robin Ventura's first managerial year: "Going into it, I had no concerns about Robin being able to handle it. I don't think anybody could have done a better job than Robin, and he put a pretty good staff together."
On young players' success validating the club's low-rated Minors: "We all need validation at some point, no matter what we are doing. It doesn't matter a whole lot where those rankings lie. I care about people in Chicago and the White Sox. As long as they know we know what we are doing and that we are doing our best, that's all I care much about."