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HomeSports NewsLos Angeles Dodgers non-tender former NL MVP Cody Bellinger

Los Angeles Dodgers non-tender former NL MVP Cody Bellinger


From NL MVP in 2019 to non-tendered in 2022

From NL MVP in 2019 to non-tendered in 2022
Picture: Getty Photographs

Previous to the beginning of the 2021 season, Dodgers’ outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger was thought-about probably the greatest baseball gamers on planet Earth. In his three full seasons with LA previous to 2021, he’d received NL Rookie of the Yr, an NL MVP, and had smashed 111 residence runs. 2020 wasn’t the kindest season to Bellinger, however he did nonetheless report a 112 OPS-plus, and it was a 60-game season, you understand? Nothing felt proper that 12 months. We simply pushed any poor play from that season to the aspect and hoped it could subside when regular baseball picked again up in 2021. Nevertheless, issues solely acquired worse from there.

In 239 common season video games since then, Bellinger has .193/.256/.355, good for a .611 OPS or 64 OPS-plus. He’s remained related on the Dodgers on account of his strong protection, however his days of offensive prowess are seemingly far behind him. That’s why it got here as no shock when Los Angeles non-tendered its as soon as beloved youngster, making Bellinger a free agent for the primary time in his profession.

Bellinger was approaching his remaining 12 months of arbitration in 2023 and was set to make between $18 and $20 million. That value for somebody who’s performed at below-replacement-level on the plate over the past two seasons is clearly a really hefty value, one the Dodgers may afford to pay — lord is aware of they have the funds for to make a transfer like that and nonetheless win 100 video games subsequent season — however not value it of their eyes.

That mentioned, I discover it laborious to imagine L.A. will let him stroll away quietly. Regardless of having three of their top-five prospects and 4 of their top-ten able to enjoying the outfield, plus James Outman, the Dodgers have held on to Bellinger tightly, enjoying him in 144 video games in 2022 regardless of his subpar bat. Their solely appropriate heart discipline replacements in the mean time are utility man Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, and possibly Mookie Betts, none of whom play heart discipline on the stage Bellinger does. There are additionally free brokers like Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Kiermaier, however Nimmo is pricey and never an amazing defender. In distinction, Kiermaier is simply Bellinger with a barely higher common, much less energy, and extra base-stealing prowess. The Dodgers worth Bellinger’s protection immensely, and based mostly on the preliminary response we’ve seen from different groups, fanbases, and executives, there’s nonetheless perception that Belli may flip his hitting profession round, hokey pokey-style.

Though Los Angeles doesn’t wish to pay Bellinger the cash he was set to earn, the Dodgers may nonetheless outbid any crew out there for him. I doubt anybody can be keen to pay that value given Bellinger’s manufacturing, or lack thereof, over the past two seasons, so he may return to Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers are on observe to place in plenty of work this offseason, primarily with their beginning rotation and bullpen — which remains to be in search of a legit closing choice ought to Blake Treinen not return to his former glory subsequent 12 months. With that in thoughts, Bellinger’s arbitration value was too hefty a value to bear. Will some crew overpay within the hopes of capturing Bellinger’s 2019 lightning in a bottle? Perhaps, but when not, the Dodgers ought to be the almost definitely candidate to signal the left-handed bat. He’s already well-respected within the clubhouse and fills a dire want defensively.

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