With the Dodgers non-tendering star outfielder Cody Bellinger last week, the former MVP is now a free agent. His agent, Scott Boras, has said they have multiple multi-year offers on the table, but they’re more likely to go with a one-year deal in hopes of rebuilding his value so he can bring home a better contract next offseason.
Baseball insider Jon Morosi was on MLB Network on Monday and talked about one team he expects to be heavily in on Bellinger.
“I will be somewhat surprised if the Toronto Blue Jays do not sign either Bellinger or Brandon Nimmo. There is such a strong need for this team to get an athletic, left-handed hitting center-fielder that you got now these two players on the market.
“Obviously, Bellinger has his flaws, very little has gone right for him, to your point, since he injured his shoulder celebrating that memorable home run in Texas back in the 2020 National League playoffs. And so, with Bellinger, it’s a matter of getting that shoulder sound again. …
“Scott Boras has said to Ken Rosenthal there’s a belief that by strengthening the shoulder, changing the training regimen that he’s got around that shoulder joint, that he’s gonna be able to be a little bit closer to that 2019 version of his production. And the virtue of him being so young, and Scott Boras told Ken this, is that having the one-year deal is appealing. Go out there, prove that you can still do it, post some great numbers … for one year, then go back out on the free agent market a year from now.
“And I would say this: There are few venues, both because of the quality of the lineup and the hitter-friendly nature of the ballpark, that are more conducive to that approach than the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre. … If they can’t get Nimmo, it’s a nice, quick pivot to a shorter-term possibility in Cody Bellinger.”
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 21, 2022
The appeal of a good hitters’ park is understandable, but Boras surely understands that Bellinger’s market next offseason will be determined much more by his underlying numbers than his home run totals. If Belli’s bat speed doesn’t recover to let him catch up to the high fastball and help his exit velocities bounce back to his pre-injury levels, teams aren’t going to be fooled by artificially inflated Rogers Centre numbers. And if his bat speed does recover, he’s going to post big power numbers whether he’s playing in Toronto or the Grand Canyon.
Morosi’s points about the Blue Jays needing a center-fielder stand, though, so they make sense as a suitor. And while they might not have the advantage he says they do because of their stadium, their real advantage would come from a willingness to give him the contract he wants, which they might do.
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