Dodgers: Cody Bellinger Odd Man Out in Outfield? How LA Will Manage Mookie’s Return?

With Mookie Betts set to be activated sometime later this week, he’ll more than likely resume his role in right field leaving Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor left to fill in the center field and left field spots.

We discuss who LA should start in center and left and if it’s time for the Dodgers to demote Cody Bellinger as the everyday starting centerfielder.

Plus, former Dodgers GM, Ned Colletti, was on AM 570’s postgame Dodger Talk with David Vassegh and said that he thinks Cody Bellinger could be the odd man out in the Dodgers outfield.


So the big question for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers this week, what does the starting outfield look like once Mookie comes back? We asked fans on Twitter for their best starting three and Cody did get his fair share of love out there.

Defense wins championships is undoubtedly the thinking among fans that want to see Belli in the lineup on the daily. Still, with AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor having hot seasons, you can’t sit them and feel good about yourself.

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NEXT: Scott Alexander and Garret Cleavinger May Be Running Out of Time

Doug McKain

Doug McKain is a lifelong Dodger fan and hosts Dodgers Nation’s “DNpostgame” show online. He also hosts Dodgers DougOut and the LA Sports Report on YouTube. DMAC is also a rabid Lakers fan, and lover of all Los Angeles sports.


  1. How much defense do we actually lose removing Belli from the lineup? Surely not enough to warrant his anemic bat staying in the lineup. Im sure he is squaring up a few balls, but when I predict a popup or strikeout in every at bat it seems to happen. Tonight I will predict hit and see if it works.

    1. His chances of getting the ball out of the infield against Snell is very low. And his -3 defensive runs saved this season, according to FanGraphs, should answer your question.

  2. I’m a HUGE Belli fan and I truly believe only needs time to reorganize his swing and approach at the plate. He will eventually be back to his MVP-level form in my opinion.

    He looks so completely lost offensively right now that I think he really just needs the offseason to get here ASAP so he can just work on this on a personal level. His pitch recognition, swing mechanics, situational awareness and just simple self-applied pressure to always hit the “5-run HR” have him 100% all out of whack.

    I was, at first, of the opinion that more “rehab” time was needed. Now I think he just needs “time away” to regather and figure out how he can fix it all. At the very least, he should be platooned – and I mean sparingly – to allow for both Pollock and CT3 to get their appropriate AB’s.

    It’s never know what Roberts will do however…and that worries me. Bellinger just might hit a point of “no return” where he can never be fixed again very soon. I hope not.

  3. We lose very little defensively with CT3 in center, and AJ in left. Plus we gain so much on offense by not having Bellinger in the lineup. I don’t dislike the guy, but that woeful .175 batting average needs to ride the pine. And while we are at it, here’s a vote for hitting Pollock and his plus-.300 batting average in the 2 spot, where his speed can help pick up a few stolen bases (he is 8 for 8). Would set the table nicely for JT, Betts, Max and Seager.

    1. Yes, Bellinger needs to be benched, except when CT, Pollock, or Betts needs a day off.
      I do not agree about Pollock in the 2 spot. He needs to be in the middle of the line up to drive in runs. T. Turner, Betts are the top of the line up, their speed is killer up there. Then Muncy, J. Turner, Pollock, Seager, and Smith, Taylor in some order. The hotter hitters first. Very tough line up.

  4. Of course I love the beli-bombs as much as anybody and can’t wait to see the real Codi return to us.

    I know that he and his girlfriend are infanticipating and I’m thinking that pressure might be on his mind and effecting his game. I’m hoping he’s seeing a sports psychologist and working on the internal game as well as the on-field game.You’ve got this, CB!

  5. Belli is totally lost and confused. His focus on the game is a mess, as he has no idea on his AB’s….swinging @ bad pitches and missing middle-middle. He doesn’t understand situational hitting and 2-strikes approach which is making him a big rally killer. His defense is also out of focus and not being smart in his thinking or ability to foresee. Put him on the IL like they do w/ everybody else to make room. After all he has legit injuries to rehab including his head.

  6. Young, makes tons of money, stuck in a relationship, unmarried , cannot play the field and soon to be a father.
    Just maybe he is lost in life itself and taking flack from family.
    Just an observation.

    1. Awwwww poor young millionaire that knocked up a woman he won’t marry. Poor fella! I hope he’s ok …

      We all have probs as grown men. And most don’t have the luxury of youthful health and $$$$ in the bank to deal with our F’ups.

      If he can’t hit a ball anymore because of his ‘horrible’ life, perhaps he can get a job at Home Depot and free of all this stress.

  7. Can’t believe this is even a topic of discussion. Bellinger is going to the bench, I do agree Bellinger needs a reset to have any chance of coming back. Maybe the reset takes the form of a ten day IL stint. I’m sure the Dodgers can come up with some sort of injury

  8. Belli has produced in the PAST ! Well appreciated ! But unfortunately this is now , this is the present , he is not producing , as an example…..as good as PUJOLS has been in the past , would you play him everyday and sit MUNCY ? Of course not ! Bellinger needs to get fixed and is only falling into failure at this point . It is so sad to see him struggling , seeming not to change anything in his at bats .Bellinger needs to get fixed soon before his mental attitude about the game of Baseball is gone forever , he is young and can work on his problems now , if he keeps starting , He will continue to put pressure on himself , Knowing someone else should be playing in his place , someone that is hitting and getting on base, driving in runs , but that person is sitting on the bench. Bellinger is not the same player as of NOW ! Himself and ROBERTS needs to recognize that , sure he wants to play in the playoffs , but so does the other players , just as much , the DODGERS NEED to MAKE the RIGHT DECISION.

  9. I just saw Pollack rob a home run last night. Nice defense. And his 305 batting average is 135 points higher than Bellinger’s 170. By the end of the year maybe Pollack’s BA will be twice Bellinger’s. Taylor has been the MVP of the team for most of the year. And Mookie is Mookie. We would not be the defending WS champions without him. There is no place in the starting lineup for Bellinger. With Trea Turner at 2B, you can’t work Bellinger into 1B either to air mail ill advised throws across the infield. Bellinger should sit. So naturally, DR will force him into the lineup as often as possible with his endless stream of rest days

    1. I agree. Pollock (and Taylor) have been consistent throughout this season and held the Dodgers together during this (seemingly endless) stream of injured players. Bellinger is a very talented player who is right now in desperate need of a reset and that reset cannot occur while he is in the Dodgers’ lineup every day. When Mookie returns, the Dodgers have to make room for him and currently Bellinger is the Dodgers player who is underperforming. When he gets it together, the lineup can then be reevaluated.

  10. Pollock, Taylor and Betts need to have at least 4 AB’s each game. Bring Bellinger in the game to pinch hit when the situation is right. Then, keep Bellinger in the game (during the later innings) for his exceptional defensive play.

  11. Bench him and Lux for the rest of the season, then trade them both away. Both have sucked this year.

  12. We have all seen videos of Bellinger at his best a couple of years ago hitting with a totally different approach. Why he abandoned that approach for todays totally ineffective batting stance, and I say batting and not hitting, because hitting is now not part of the equation, is anyone’s guess. Either he is incredibly stubborn or just plain stupid.

  13. Unfortunately he is lost at the plate. Pathetic swings against Snell last night. Any good lefty will shut this team down. Don’t think they will catch the Giants. They know how to put the ball in play whereas the Dodgers swing from the heels to hit dingers. Can’t stand the Giants but you have to give them credit for the way they play the game. Way to many strikeouts in our lineup. We need to make more contact and try some small ball. A one game wild card game for us could be the end.

    1. Yes, last night was a good example w/ all the opportunities of RISP and not getting the run in is very troubling when come to playoff time. KO’s and not situational hitting leads to losses in these close games. I noticed that’s the Giants way of their wins is very commendable.

  14. This is no knock on these 2 exceptional ball players, but how’s about switching Trea to the outfield and bring CT3 in to 2nd. Trea seems uncomfortable on the right side and having a little trouble adapting to the position. Last night, I know it was a tough play but that was one unearned run that shouldn’t have been scored and Dodgers should have won in 9. There have been other similar miscues by Trea that CT3 could have executed, being already acclimated there. Trea’s speed is an asset in covering a lot of ground, and w/ his athleticism and hops, maybe he can steal a HR or two. These 2 guys are stellar players and can be interchangeable, so I believe it doesn’t hurt to try it now and see where it goes before the playoffs start.

  15. Bellinger should sit the bench. He has done nothing to correct his hitting approach. He tries to hit home runs on every swing. He shorten his swing. He does NOT deserve to play ahead of Betts (rf), Taylor (cf), or Pollock (lf). Bellinger is lost, hitting .170 for the year. He refuses to cut down on his swing, he should bunt to get some hits when he does play. His defense is NOT good enough to play him if he cannot hit. Bench him until next year, it takes at least a year for a shoulder to heal after surgery. Just ask Adrian Gonzalez.

    1. Everything you said is true as we have tirelessly discussed about the disappointment of the performance of Belli. His defense alone is not reason enough to be in the lineup as he has made some mental mistakes on the field that cost runs. In the major leagues, it is all about production, so he has to understand why he’s on the bench or why others getting more playing time. If he feels he can still play even w/ a weak shoulder, then make the necessary adjustments to get the job done. Tatís Jr. has a similar injury where he adjusted his swing and play to still be very effective in the lineup. All eyes are on him where he is embarrassing himself, so he just have to suck in his pride and be a good cheerleader.

  16. I trust doc to play the hot hand while the Dodgers continue to win every game leading up to the gnat series. Belli may not play as much, but at least in 5 days he and others on the bubble will still be with the big club when rosters expand.

  17. The Dodgers can send Gonzalez to the minors work on his pitching mechanics,but theirs nothing being done to fix Bellinger. Oh,excuse me! About a week ago, Orel Hershiser noticed that Belli did a little tweeking with his stance and slightly moved his lead foot to a more opened position.What a joke! Everyone knows that Belli is going to need a whole lot of tweeking.At this point the Dodgers are to blame for Bellingers problems.They are FAILING him.They have FAILED to fix his mechanics but you can fix a pitcher if you send him to AAA.It is up to Roberts and the organization to do something about this and to stop this FAILURE.I don’t see anything wrong with Bellingers bat speed.So,I’m pretty sure his shoulder is fine.Stop this FAILURE and fix his mechanics.It’s that simple!

  18. I still like Bellinger for achievements he has accomplished. A MVP goes a long way with me

    1. Cannot live in the past. Bellinger is NOT the same hitter he was. The pitchers have caught up to him and his swing is way way too long.

  19. Bellinger is filling a critical role in the Dodger’s lineup – he’s the clutch out with RISP and an elite inning killer. Consistency is his hallmark this year. Terrible, but consistent.

  20. Bellinger needs professional advice on his batting issues….we need his glove and his speed…..without his bat at its best we suffer. Get him help and quickly!

  21. I think we all agree Cody is just not himself. He’s coming off of shoulder surgery that took a long time to heal, he’s been on the IL multiple times this season. The way I see it, he’s a young and talented baseball player, a former MVP with many years ahead of him,. He’s been frustrated this whole season with nagging injuries and its just got to be killing him, especially knowing they need to pass the Giants. Being the team player he is, he feels bad for his teammates too, He wants to contribute so badly, I think he is simply over trying. You can see it, he invariably goes after the first pitch he see’s and seems to always have an 0-2 count. I like the idea of platooning against lefty’s. It will give him time to think and improve, instead of trying to instantly be the Cody we’ve all come to love. He’ll return to form, but it aint gonna be overnight.

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