Dodgers non-soft Cody Bellinger as former MVP’s downfall continues

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Dodgers non-soft Cody Bellinger as former MVP's downfall continues
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Cody Bellinger’s dramatic fall from the top took another twist on Friday.

Instead of arbitration, the Dodgers opted not to offer him a contract for the 2023 season. Bellinger earned $17 million in 2022 and likely would have earned a small bump for next season in arbitration.

Instead, the 27-year-old now becomes a free agent just three years after winning the 2019 National League MVP award, hitting 47 home runs and leading in 115 runs with a .305/.406/.629 slash and 1.035. PAHO. . Two years prior, he had been named NL Rookie of the Year, bursting onto the scene with 39 home runs in 132 games.

Bellinger has consistently provided near-elite defense in center field, showing how his offense has regressed to make him expendable. He’s had the ninth-most strikeouts above average among center defensemen, according to Baseball Savant, and also provides speed on the base paths.

But Bellinger hasn’t topped 19 home runs since his MVP season, a far cry from producing to start his career. Over the past three seasons, Bellinger has homered just 41 total with a .203/.272/.376 slant line and .648 OPS. In the first three seasons of his career, Bellinger hit 111 total home runs with a .278/.369/.559 slant line and .928 OPS. He helped the Dodgers win the 2020 World Series, but his offensive woes were just beginning to take shape. Now, his tenure with the Dodgers could end suddenly.

The Dodgers haven’t closed the door completely, however, as they can still bring Bellinger back on a smaller deal if they and him choose.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the end of the Cody chapter and the Dodgers,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters on Friday. “We still believe very much in Cody’s talent and his competitive composition, and we have an interest in a reunion. We will continue discussions with Cody and his group as he goes through this process on his own.

Either way, one of the best options has just been added to a tight outside market as the Dodgers continue to offload the payroll in preparation for more moves. They’ve already cleared over $100 million so far with Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, David Price and Bellinger now off the list, although they could bring one back or of them.

New York Post

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