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Cody Bellinger Rumors: AL East Team May Pivot to Former Dodgers MVP, if Non-Tendered

One of the most fascinating subplots of the Dodgers’ tough decision whether to offer Cody Bellinger a contract by Friday afternoon’s tender deadline is where the former MVP might end up if Los Angeles decides to part ways with him. It could become a very real question just hours from now.

L.A. could just choose to keep Bellinger and go to arbitration with him, although he’d definitely make at least $14 million and probably somewhere in the $17-18 million range. They could also choose to non-tender him and try to negotiate a lower-dollar deal, perhaps an incentive-laden multi-year contract with options or opt-outs. Or they could just let him walk.

If they let him go, MLB insider has thoughts on one team that might be interested.

Currently, the Blue Jays only have three big league outfielders: Lourdes Gurriel, George Springer, and Whit Merrifield. They recently DFA’d Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer, and they traded Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle. So they’re definitely in the market for an outfielder.

But would a guy who has been 36 percent below league average offensively over the past two seasons really be who they’d go for? Toronto plays in a tough division and is trying to built a perennial playoff contender, and that’s a risky move unless it’s very cheap.

As Morosi hinted at, Rogers Centre in Toronto is very friendly for homers and doubles, but Bellinger’s underlying issue is a lack of bat speed (which manifests in an inability to catch up to high fastballs and a lower exit velocity). There are (hopefully) fixes to be made, but switching stadiums would be a band-aid. If Bellinger gets right, it doesn’t matter what stadium he’s playing at; if he doesn’t get right, it still doesn’t matter what stadium he’s in, but for the opposite reason.

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9 Comments

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  1. I think the way the process works is teams can offer a contract and the player can counter; if they don’t compromise then it goes to arbitration. In this case the Dodgers should offer an amount suitable for a defensive, speed capable player with incentives related to at-bats and actually being on the teams roster following the trade deadline.
    If Boras/Cody then want to take it to arb. the team could trade him before the trade deadline which would probably mean eating part of his salary for the 2nd half of the season. Not a lot of extra cost involved there. It comes down to about five million dollars if they eat half of his second half salary.
    Sooner or later he is going to figure it out…even if he has to morph to a base/extra base hitter with speed. Cutting down his swing with two strikes would help and so will shift restrictions. Both sides should stop what they are playin’ at and get to work this off-season!

  2. Hate to belabor this but we are talking about a premier defensive position here…CF. We aren’t going to go with “well we might as well find a cheaper glove inside/outside the organization who can hit as well as Cody did last season, etc.” This isn’t about saving dollars; we want offense from all our outfielders. We aren’t going to go after Nimo because we have untenable holes at SS and pitching, as well as question marks in LF. That’s a lot already. We need a reasonably productive Bellinger in 2023.

  3. I really like Cody as a human being. I have his jersey. But, the guy simply can not hit, and its been this way for nearly the last 3 years. Yes he is one of the best CF defensive guys in all of baseball. The problem is he can not hit. I say let him go.

    • I say keep belli every single player goes through a slump his was this year. I’m gonna be so mad if they trade him and he hits 40 or more home runs with someone else.

  4. If Belli is indeed non-tendered, as all these short-sighted comments are hoping for, I’m going to be so pissed when he starts hitting bombs again in one of these AL East bandboxes, or, horresco referens, in the ocean in Oracle Park.

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