Dodgers non-tender Cody Bellinger as ex-MVP’s stunning fall continues
On Friday, Cody Bellinger’s spectacular ascent from the top took a new turn.
The Dodgers decided not to offer him a contract for the 2023 season in favor of arbitration. Bellinger made $17 million in 2022, and arbitration is likely to have awarded him a little raise for the upcoming season.
Instead, just three years after winning the 2019 National League MVP award for hitting 47 home runs and scoring 115 runs while posting a.305/.406/.629 slash line and a 1.035 OPS, the 27-year-old now becomes a free agent. He won the NL Rookie of the Year award two years prior after debuting with 39 home runs in 132 games.
Bellinger has continued to play center field with near-elite defense, showing just how much his offense has deteriorated to the point of being worthless. According to Baseball Savant, he recorded the ninth-most outs above average among center fielders and also contributes speed on the basepaths.
However, Bellinger hasn’t hit more than 19 home runs since his MVP season, which is a long cry from the output at the beginning of his career. Bellinger has only hit 41 home runs in his last three seasons while slashing.203/.272/.376 and posting a.648 OPS. Bellinger hit 111 home runs in his first three seasons, with a.278/.369/.559 slash line and a.928 OPS. His offensive struggles were just starting to materialize, but he still contributed to the Dodgers winning the 2020 World Series. His time with the Dodgers may now be abruptly coming to an end.
The Dodgers did not completely shut the door, though, as they may still sign Bellinger to a shorter contract if they and he so choose.
The chapter of Cody and the Dodgers isn’t necessarily over, I wouldn’t say, according to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who spoke to media on Friday. “We still have a lot of faith in Cody’s abilities and his competitive spirit, and we are open to the idea of a reunion. As Cody goes through this process on his end, we’ll keep in touch with him and his group.
In any case, the Dodgers are still offloading payroll in order to make additional moves, but one of the best alternatives has just been added to a small outfield market. Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, David Price, and Bellinger are no longer on the roster, although they may add one or two back; thus far, they have already made more than $100 million.