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Dodgers: Cody Bellinger is Under More Pressure Now Than Anyone in Baseball



This has not been the year that anyone expected for Cody Bellinger. The Dodgers knew that it would be a challenge to get him back to 100 percent following offseason shoulder surgery, but no one could have predicted this. 

And although he is making much-needed adjustments to his swing and approach, time is running out for Bellinger to figure things out. But the Dodgers need him to get the bat going heading into the final stretch of the season.

A recent article from CBS suggested that Bellinger might be under more pressure than any other player in MLB heading into the last 2 weeks of play. And Dodgers fans might agree with that given the state of the lineup. 

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Bellinger is not only fighting for an opportunity to be a part of the Dodgers postseason plans, but he’s also fighting for money beyond this year. Los Angeles almost certainly would not consider non-tendering him, but the former NL MVP is obviously looking for a big payday in the near future. 

Slashing .081/.190/.135 in the final month of the season isn’t going to help his cause. So yes, Bellinger does have a ton of pressure on him for the last few weeks of the year. The Dodgers will absolutely pivot to a better outfield alignment with guys who are producing if he can’t find his groove. 

That would include guys like Chris Taylor, AJ Pollock, and even Gavin Lux. The Dodgers also have Matt Beaty waiting to get his chance should the need arise, and even Zach McKinstry or Billy McKinney should the need arise. 

Time is running out, but it’s never too late to catch fire. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Maybe there is just no “groove” there to find right now. It is a shame that they can’t – as they seem to do with pitchers – find a lingering “injury” and just shut him down for the rest of the year. That would free up a roster spot for the post season and it would give him time to work on his batting issues in a less public way. This problem has been going on since the 2019 All Star break, he has already hurt his 2022 arbitration value significantly and he needs a reset if he wants to build it back up before free agency before free agency in 2024. Right now he is just a Billy Hamilton with a better glove.

  2. ESPN headline “Either the Giants or Dodgers will face a wild-card elimination game?

    Here’s why that’s a good thing”

    Because you are a East Coast weenie writer?

  3. “he’s also fighting for money beyond this year”

    Gosh this is so disconcerting to me. I can’t sleep at night.

    Hope the rich young man is able to make even more millions, even he has been a detriment to my team all year.

  4. He should have been sent down 2 months+ ago to work on his issues. Now Belli is mostly useless offensively. Wasted year and maybe a wasted career. He is stubborn and unable or unwilling to make needed adjustments. Those adjustments would have been FAR less painful had he been given time in the minors. No reason for Bellinger to change if he still getting in the lineup with his terrible results.

  5. Bellinger should be removed from the dugout. He is a negative force dragging the team down. Bad hitting is contagious. He refused to make adjustments all year, and proved he is a selfish, ME guy, not willing to take advice. Should have been removed from the lineup two months ago. The Dodgers would have clinched the West by now… addition by subtraction. BTW, I am a Bellinger fan, but he has no business in the lineup or even on the team right now.

      • And DRRRRRRRRRR will weaken the bench and send Beaty packing again. All Bellinger has to do to keep his guaranteed position is take a walk or hit a double once a month to satisfy DRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR………..Cody isn’t deserving of a spot on this team, and neither is DRRRRRRRRR if he allows him to keep on. But like Paul always says, that’s DRRRRRRRRRR for ya…….

  6. Assuming CT3 and AJP are healthy there’s no way Belli starts in playoffs. Harder call to keep him on roster though. Flexible defensive replacement who plays a great CF. And fast. Who makes it as subs? Barnes. Gotta take Albert. Beatty. I assume they take four. I think I’d go Belli over Lux or whoever else we’re talking about. Not a strong bench though. They’ve missed KiKe all season.

  7. I’m bullish on Bellinger. Since September 12th his swing has been short to the ball and the chasing has virtually stopped. His head is staying still and his helmet is not falling off on missed swings.He’s hitting the ball harder and letting it get deeper into the strike zone. I think Bellinger bats against every right handed pitcher from here on out to see if the new swing is real which I believe it is. Keep him on the bench against left handed pitching and use other options.Hitting is as much a mental game as a physical one. Talent is talent even when it temporarily disappears especially after surgery.You don’t go from MVP to DFA over night. Too early to give up on Bellinger.

  8. Unbelievable! Belli’s numbers suck and he’d probably be the first one to say it, but lets think positive. His defense is amazing and his speed is up there with Trea!

    That said, those talking trash doesn’t seem to realize that the strikeouts have pretty much disappeared. Total turnaround on plate discipline. Its either a walk or Belli puts it in play. And although the hits haven’t come, that is a recipe for success. Prove me right Belli!!!

  9. I truly believe that he will be either traded away or designated for assignemtn this upcoming offseason. He deserves to be on a losing team. If we win the World Series this year, he doesn’t deserve a ring at all.

    • Belli is not going anywhere. It takes a year typically for hitters to recover from this shoulder surgery. He’s now hitting >.200 in the last 3 days with a new swing. His teammates and coaches love him – he’s not going anywhere!

      • Let’s be real here Joe. All the fans hate him for being the worst player in all of baseball. I hope he gets traded to somewhere else like Pittsburgh in exchange for Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds is an all star player and deserves to be on a winning team. Bellinger deserves to be on a losing team.

  10. Juco – well said. Only difference is I’m not a Bellinger fan. He should’ve taken him self out of the line up months ago if his manager didn’t.

  11. 2022 Santa Wishlist: Non-tender Bellinger and Bauer gets suspended for year = $50m in savings to sign Max and Clayton.

    • They will resign Scherzer for sure. Bauer will be back next year. Kersh will probably end up in Texas with the Rangers.

    • He is definitely trying a new swing, it’s just a brain fog as to how and Why it took DRRRRRRR’s and or Friedman 2 months of NOTHING from him for them to at Least ” Acknowledge” it’s been a catastrophy for this line up…..

  12. One game playoff with Padres…Pads are throwing Snell…Does DR start Bellinger? My answer is 100% unequivically yes, which would be a huge mistake of course.

    Thoughts???

    • If Roberts does that, he better expect fans and media to get after him because Bellinger HAS NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVRR starting against any LHP over Pollock or Taylor. That move could come back to burn Roberts big time and if Dodgers were to lose, then he will deserve it.

  13. Same topic! Same replies! How about this.The Dodgers don’t want to fix Bellingers swing,so they can sign him at a lower contract.That’s one way to make up for foolish Bauer money!

  14. I am a Cody fan, however, feel he also should be removed from the dugout. It’s hit or miss (mostly miss) with him at the plate, in the field, he’s great, sure..but we need him to hit..and often.

    • When Pollack and Taylor are healthy, Bellinger should sit. Just sit. Period. At least Lux has shown some signs of life lately. I am tired of hearing the defense argument. It only makes sense to play a guy with plus defense when he isn’t a nearly automatic out offensively.

  15. Lux is ripping, Belli is starting to hit, and we still have AJ and CT3 coming back. It’s all good – Dodgers will win this!!

    • I’d even pinch hit Julio for Bellinger in clutch situations. Put Belli in games prior to the playoffs where we are ahead by a comfortable margin later in a game where he can still get a couple of at bats, and if he continues to underperform, I would even bring up Zach Reks again and give him still another opportunity to perform.

  16. There is no place to hide Bellinger. As a starter, he is like having another pitcher in the lineup. As a pinch hitter, he is a worse option than some of their pitchers hitting. When the playoffs come, he will struggle even worse, as the level of pitching is better with playoff teams. Hitting worse than .160 may seem unfathomable, but against dominating pitchers it could happen. It’s time to put an end to the “Fix Cody’s Swing” project, and move on to other options. They should be able to find someone who can at least hit over .200.

  17. Bellinger is not going anywhere and neither is Lux until at least the middle of next season. Cody’s defense merits a spot on the bench this post season. He’s the new Billy McKinney until he proves a new approach will work.
    This team is going to win 100+ games so Roberts isn’t going anywhere either. A strong team can accommodate some underperformance, so look for Bellinger to find something different this off-season. It’s not horrible for this team to sign Cody at a bargain rate on a shortish term contract. Stubborn, yes. Hopeless, no. The only debate should be: Is what Bellinger is doing lately at the plate working/going to work?

  18. So for anyone who has been saying it’s been Friedman keeping Bellinger in the line up with his 160 avg and league leading worst Everything, say no more. DRRRRRRRRRRR’s was FINALLY asked the question today on SNLA pre game. Question: “Dave why did it take sooooooo long for Bellinger to change his swing?” Cody marches to his own thing….. And Dave: “Who’s idea was it to change Bellingers swing? ” It was Cody’s idea……. So there you have it dodgers fans, Roberts admits he allowed bellinger to dictate his OWN Lineup and also Roberts allowed Bellinger to play at Bellingers discretion….. Anyone else just watch the pregame? my question: Can anyone on the dodgers dictate their own performances and decide personally when they need to correct themselves? Even at the entire strenth and health of the entire organization? Man, no wonder the Top free agents suddenly want to play in L.A……

  19. There is no groove for him to find. Too many holes in his swing. For those of you who love Cody just because he is our Cody need to pick a date when you will finally realize he is done.

  20. OMG the master strategist actually gave Beaty and his 260+ a start tonight. He comes through in another one of those Dodger offensive sleepwalks with 2 hits. Lux has been been swinging the bat well of late but needed a days rest of course. Our boy Belli, all his pressure and swing changes right there with another 0-4 and two k’s. Would be no pressure if he and his .159 were sitting on the bench next to Delusional Dave

    • Bobbyd, There’s no pressure in the starting line up either with Bellinger. In the real world we all have to perform to ensure our employment, and/or if we work for ourselves we have to succeed or we live under a bridge. Not in DRRRRRRRRRRRRRR’s NON-Equal Opportunity world. Anyone ( As long as he likes you) can be the WORST in his profession, perform at record lows, and be a burden on the rest of the TEAM. DRRRRRRRR makes sure his media apologists never ask him WTF he’s doing, and everyone is all happy hunky dory out in Dodgers land, oh and by the way “get your Vacc” or you can’t come watch the Romper room games live anymore…….

  21. Keep in mind that what we’ve seen from Bellinger so far didn’t begin to happen this year, as he’s been in an offensive decline that goes back to the 2019 ASG . Simply put. Bellinger has been in a slump since then, we’re talking over 2 years now.

  22. You cannot hit MLB pitching consistently with no load process. Bellinger has no load, I have to believe the coaches have advised him of that, but he seems to wants to do things his way. His demeanor on the field is horrible, he acts like he is very entitled!!
    Realistically he has had only a two month span where he was extremely hot. I would like to think the ability is there, but a major attitude change will be required for him to achieve or he will find himself out of the game quickly.

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