The Dodgers faced off against their old friend Cody Bellinger on Friday for the first time. Bellinger, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2013 and spent his entire career with their organization, signed with the Chicago Cubs this offseason after LA non-tendered him.
Bellinger’s first game against his former team didn’t technically count in the stats, but I’m sure it was weird for Bellinger to be out there against some of his closest friends. He went 1-2 with a 2-run triple and a walk, and elected not to speak to reporters after the game. However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did speak to reporters, and was asked about his former player. He said he’s always going to root for him, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
“I think the whole net of it was a great run for Cody, for the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “I wish we could have done more to support him and get some more consistency for him. But our hope is that the change of scenery will kind of tap into something that’s already in there that we know. I’ll always root for Cody.”
It’s not difficult to understand why Roberts would be rooting for his guy. He’s worked with Bellinger ever since he made his debut in 2017, and was with him for all the highs and all the lows. Roberts was there when Bellinger made the All-Star team his rookie year and took home the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Roberts was with there when he made his second All-Star team in 2019, and won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award. And Roberts was there for the decline, consistently sticking by his guy through the struggles.
However, this offseason, the Dodgers didn’t want to pay Bellinger, and it’s easy to understand why. Bellinger has hit just .203 since 2020 with 41 home runs, 134 RBIs and 286 strikeouts. He was a shell of his former self, and the Dodgers couldn’t justify paying him millions of dollars to hope he returns to form.
However, Roberts is rooting for his guy, and I’m sure many Dodger fans are too. Roberts hopes Bellinger can turn his career back around, and find some success in Chicago. Just probably not when he plays against the Dodgers.
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