Cody Bellinger has seen a precipitous downfall to his career ever since winning NL MVP honors in 2019. Ever since posting 7.7 WAR with the Los Angeles Dodgers three years ago, Bellinger hasn’t even come close to his past level of performance. From 2020 to 2022, he’s amassed a mere 2.1 WAR (including a -1.0 WAR season in 2021) and the Dodgers, who were projected to pay Bellinger around $19 million in arbitration for the 2023 season, just decided to non-tender their underperforming slugger.
However, it doesn’t seem as if the book on Cody Bellinger’s career as a Dodger is closed for good. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers are among Bellinger’s many suitors as they look to, perhaps, sign the 27-year old centerfielder to a cut-rate contract relative to his arbitration estimate.
At the very least, Bellinger remains a positive contributor on the field, even if his hitting prowess has declined to an inexplicable degree. According to Fangraphs, Bellinger is still a positive on the basepaths and on the field, as he has established himself as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game despite starting his career as a first baseman.
One team, added Heyman, that could make a run at Cody Bellinger is the Toronto Blue Jays, who are hopeful of a potential Bellinger revival. The presence of Blue Jays bench coach Don Mattingly, who was with the Dodgers back when Bellinger was coming up LA’s farm system, could play a huge part in getting him back on track, Heyman wrote.
Whichever team signs Bellinger will cling onto the hope that he somehow manages to re-capture some semblance of the form he displayed in 2019. For that to materialize, however, the 2019 NL MVP will have to simplify his increasingly violent swing. It remains to be seen if Bellinger could make the requisite adjustments, but with him being as young as he is, it definitely isn’t too late for him to begin his redemption arc.