As you’ve seen by now, Cody Bellinger is no longer on the roster for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The former NL Rookie of the Year and MVP and two-time All-Star was non-tendered by the club on Friday following a third straight season of struggles at the plate.
The move, while shocking, was not quite surprising. President of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, has been honest with media and fans that the team could face some big changes this offseason personnel wise. Additionally, there is a soft mandate for the team to try and avoid surpassing the competitive balance tax threshold next year (set at $233 million for 2023) for what would be the third straight season.
Cutting Bellinger saves the Dodgers a projected $18 million in salary for next season and opens up an opportunity for some of the younger talent down on the farm. However, cutting Cody wasn’t Friedman’s first choice.
As we know, the team explored different contract avenues with Bellinger and his agent over the last few days and weeks in the hopes of retaining the outfielder on a cheaper contract. But, the two sides couldn’t find a solid middle ground.
In the aftermath of the non-tender, Friedman left the door open on a return for Cody, but in the eyes of one reporter, the chances of that happening are slim to none.
“The tweets that you’re seeing out there,” the reporter said on local AM radio, “saying that he possibly could return to the Dodgers for a cheaper price, if that was going to happen, it would have happened before 5 o’clock pacific time [on Friday]. That is very unlikely now, especially with the demand for Cody Bellinger’s services. I already know of 6 teams that are very interested in signing Cody Bellinger. So, he is going to get his money, it’s just not going to be from the Dodgers.”
MLB insiders had already linked Bellinger to the Cubs and Blue Jays, among other teams leading up to the non-tender deadline on Friday. Now with the 27-year-old a free agent, more clubs are certainly going to come out of the woodwork.
Superagent Scott Boras will have his client’s best interest in mind while trying to find the perfect situation for him to shine at a hitter-friendly ballpark. Something Dodger Stadium is not.