This will be his first major-league managerial job, but Bell spent four years managing in the minors for the Reds before leaving to become the third base coach for the Cubs in 2013.
Since then he has worked for the Cardinals and the Giants. He was the vice president of player development in San Francisco last season.
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Bell is part of a baseball family that also includes his brothers, Mike and Rick, father Buddy and grandfather Gus.
Buddy Bell is a member of the Reds front office.
Mike played for the Reds in 2000.
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The Reds hope David Bell can help them end a four-year streak of finishing in last place in the National League Central.