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Dodgers: ESPN Analyst Prefers Re-Signing Cody Bellinger Over Corey Seager

The ESPN analyst prefers Bellinger’s all around game compared to Seager’s offensive production.



The Dodgers will have a franchise shaping decision to make when it comes to shortstop Corey Seager’s free agency next offseason. According to Spotrac, Los Angeles projects to be $45.5M over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold ($210M) this season.

With that in mind, will the Dodgers continue to spend and pay their taxes over the coming years to retain their homegrown talent?

ESPN’s Buster Olnley and Jessica Mendoza discussed the Dodgers’ payroll and it’s impact on Seager’s free agency on the ESPN Baseball Tonight Podcast.

“The agents are looking at the Dodgers payroll and they believe the Dodgers are kinda barreling towards that moment when they’re gonna have to choose between investing a long term deal in Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger.”

Olney then posed the Seager or Bellinger question to Mendoza, “Which guy would you take if you were the Dodgers?”

Mendoza responded.

“You’re gonna make me do this? To me, it’s definitely Cody, and, I shouldn’t say definitely, because Corey Seager brings so much… as we saw last year. The career year that he had, he is someone that I just feel like because of the body, and not that Cody Bellinger is immune to injuries. I mean shoot, he can’t even give a forearm high five without dislocating his shoulder and now having shoulder surgery. But, I’m always drawn to the dynamic you know, the ones, I’m an outfielder, so ones that climb the wall, make the defensive plays, you feel like, just gosh, watching his swing, the capability that he really has to change the game.”

Related: Corey Seager Not Thinking About Contract Status, Extension, or Free Agency

She expanded on her preference to re-signing Bellinger, noting Seager’s stubborn plate approach and reemphasizing Bellinger’s defensive talents.

“ …there’s something stubborn about Corey Seager,” Mendoza explained. “He’s always swinging at the first pitch. We’ve had so many conversations with Dave Roberts and he’s like ya, ‘we try to talk to him, pitchers know’. These are two great players. So it’s not that Corey Seager isn’t good enough. But if you’re having to make that decision and I’m a GM, I’m going with Cody Bellinger. And not because one is so much greater, but because I’m way biased towards the swing. The ability to do what he can do on any given day. Knowing — let’s be real — all the talents that’s around them. It doesn’t have to be about Cody or Corey because you have so many other guys in that lineup. I’d rather the guy that can do the Cody things that he does.”

To Mendoza’s point, Bellinger posted an impressive 10.3 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) in 2019 en route to a Gold Glove. Seager, although more offensively consistent, recorded a -1.5 UZR that same year. 

LA’s President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, can navigate payroll challenges better than anyone. Dodgers fans certainly hope he can create a future where both Seager and Bellinger are in Dodger blue for years to come. 

If they do have to pick between the two, who should they choose?

NEXT: Friedman Hopes it’s Not Corey Seager’s Last Year in Blue, Will He Re-Sign with LA?

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. I really hope the Dodgers can re-sign both of those incredible talents. Those 2, along with Betts will anchor the offense and defense for many years.

    • they’ll both be back – we lose Kenley, Kelly and possibly Kershaw and can easily pay both in 2022

  2. Seager is still whining about being disrespected when he was hurt and the Dodgers reportedly were talking about trading for Lindor. Plus rumors abound he and his new wife want to buy a Farm/Ranch near relatives in North Carolina. And his agent is Boras!
    Lux may be the answer if Seager doesn’t want to play for the Dodgers after this year. If Lux has a good year they can move him to SS. The Dodgers have Mann, Estevez, and Busch all competing for a MLB roster spot and are 2nd basemen.
    Seager would be missed but there are options. I can’t envision the Dodgers giving Seager a Tatis type deal, which I am sure Boras will demand. Although I was certainly wrong about Bauer and his deal with the Dodgers.
    On the other hand I think there will be a protracted strike next year.

    • TMax…I read some of the same things about Seager desiring to return to the East Coast and Lux (whose a natural SS, being moved over). I can certainly see Boras asking for north of 300.

  3. It’s a silly debate considering the CBA is up after this season and who knows if there will be a strike next season. Regardless, CBA rules will be very different when baseball is played again and it’s entirely possible that keeping both is not a problem.

  4. What a load of B.S. …..if they can jump at Bauer for what 40 million a year (?) when they were already overloaded with pitching…..Don’t you dare unload our Awesome Duo of Seager/Bellinger just for money!!!

  5. Really – ESPN took time out from interviewing ANYBODY while the game was going on to actually comment on baseball. Surprise!!

  6. I’d vote to never talk to or ask a question of Mendoza. Just reading her comments/reply to the question made my head hurt. And this was nothing compared to listening to her during ESPN baseball telecasts.

    • I agree that Jessica is not a good broadcaster , she is annoying to listen to , just like Dick Vitale . I turn off their voice .

  7. I agree that defensively Belli is far superior. Despite Seags swinging at the first pitch, I still like his plate discipline.
    Mendoza makes a good point that Seags is a lot more injury prone. However, Belli’s swing is so incredibly forceful and unorthodox that I don’t see his shoulders and torso being able to sustain this swing for his whole career.
    Also, Belli has not shown he can do what he did during his 2019 MVP season, and I am wondering if he has lost the mindset he once had, whereas Seags seems to have been locked in from day one and has never really seemed to have lost his way at the plate.
    That being said I wouldn’t throw the bank at either one of these guys until I see Belli get his swag back and Seags get a full season of being healthy under his belt.

  8. When I watch a game on ESPN I always turn the sound off so I don’t have to listen to the constant babble about nothing from the announcers especially Mendoza. Corey has the talent to give the pitcher that 1st pitch and still make solid contact on the remaining pitches. Talk about stubbornness. Except for 45 days in April and May of the 2019 season when he hit to all fields, Cody changed his style and went with the long ball. He stopped hitting to all fields and instead hit into the shift. He became a below avg hitter both in the remainder of 2019 and the 2020 seasons. As far as defense is concerned SS is a much tougher position than either 1b or the outfield.

  9. Now that is an interesting one. First of all I’m not sure that they can’t keep both, but assuming they can’t I’m leaning towards keeping Seager.

  10. Corey would be my pick at this time based on consistency, Cody has great ability but really has only had a short fantastic two month offensive spurt
    And not much offense in playoffs
    This will probably be determined on how both perform this season.

  11. Seager will continue to demonstrate what he can do when he is healthy this year. His output will be tough to ignore but Boras will drive the Dodgers from the bargaining table. Given that Seager will cost an astronomical amount and we can’t ever count on him to willingly play third base we might see Andrew make a generous offer and walk away if Boras does his typical thing. The only thing that brings Cory back to LA is if he really wants to play here and nowhere else.
    I am with those of you who think Lux can play short and I believe I read somewhere the free agent market for shortstops in 2022 might be decent as well.

  12. Mendoza, “He’s always swinging at the first pitch.” Like that’s a problem for Seager. He has a slash line of .400/.406/.655 when he swings at the first pitch. It’s almost like she has no idea what she’s talking about.

  13. Seeger all the way. I mean geez, why don’t we give away urias while we’re at it….like lots of folks were crying to happen when they were both hurt. When fully healthy, seeger had been one of the best consistently clutch hitters in the lineup. I’m not too worried tho, based on Robert’s handling of Taylor and his one clutch season, even if seeger is no longer on the team he will find a way to keep him in the lineup. Because two (clutch) is greater than one.

  14. Corey – great bat, ok D, and health is questionable. Cody – ok bat, Great D and health is good. If Corey stays on the field all year, then he’s going to get whatever Boras can get him. Cody if he can hit again, will get even more than his current 1 year salary on a long term basis. with the CBA up who knows what next offseason brings. and everything remaining equal, Dodgers can bring them both back as they lose some hi-priced pitchers.

  15. If you haven’t been paying attention Seger’s numbers are going up while Cody Bellinger’s on base percentage and hitting average keeps declining. I anticipate this upcoming year Cody bellinger not hit over .240. I definitely would put my money to the guy with more upside and consistency. A healthy bellinger it’s worth less than an injured Corey Seager.

  16. Seager will win MVP awards an batting titles for dodgers or somebody else if they are stupid enough to let him go which could happen they already let Joctober go free and will hit 50+ hrs a year for next 8 years Just Watch and remember who you heard it from.

  17. My hope is also that we keep both and keep that Mookie/Seager one-two punch at the top of the line-up with Belli’s dynamic defense in the outfield. However, if I had to pick one, I’d pick Seager over Belli. And let me point out that Seager doesn’t “whine” about being disrespected. He doesn’t whine about anything. He’s just focused on playing good baseball and since his surgeries has returned to consistently elite offensive stats. Belli is a flashy player but offensively hasn’t shown any consistency since his MVP year. And it isn’t like he’s the healthiest player either! But hoping we keep both in the end!

  18. Ultimate zone rating! You comparing Seager, when he was recuperating, against Bellinger when he’s healthy, what about 2020 when both are healthy. What were their ratings. Be fair.

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