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Dodgers: Former LA GM Thinks Cody Bellinger is ‘Odd Man Out’ with Mookie Returning

Once Betts gets back, the Dodgers will once again have an extra outfielder.



Superstar outfielder Mookie Betts could be activated from the 10-day IL as soon as this Thursday. His return is much needed, but it also could have a large impact on one of his fellow MVP teammates. Cody Bellinger.

Former Dodgers GM and current Sportsnet LA analyst Ned Colletti was asked on AM 570’s Dodger Talk if Bellinger is the “odd man out” once Betts returns.

“I think so. It’s been a struggle. The guys that can elevate a fastball, he’s struggled with. There’s no doubt about it. You’re going to need him to really get it going again, but you also have to figure out when to do that. You have only have thirty-some games to go. You’re trailing. You have to put your best team out there.”

Bellinger Not at His Best

Colletti also commented that you have to play your best players. For Colletti, and some Dodgers fans, Cody Bellinger doesn’t fall under that category right now.

“Selectively, I think you’ll see Cody in there to try to get him on track. The way Pollock has played, he’s one of the best hitters in the game for two months now. You can’t be sitting him down. We all know how valuable CT3 is. There’s going to be time for everybody, but you’re going to see the guys who are playing the best at the moment.”

The 2019 MVP hasn’t been anywhere close to his best this year. He missed the majority of April and May with injuries and also underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Now 66 games into his 2021, Bellinger is slashing .174/.258/.336 with a 64 wRC+ through Sunday. His 27.7% strikeout rate is the highest of his career. 

Bellinger’s inability to find any rhythm at the plate may result in significantly reduced playing time during the stretch run.

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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. Belli, has certainly had his chances, as they continue to play him in spite of his plate problems. I have also noticed him not hitting the cut-off man on multiple throws from the outfield, which has allowed runs to score more than once. I agree with the thoughts above, when Mookie comes back and someone has to go. That .175 ba hasn’t changed much in the past several weeks.

      • If his injuries are affecting his performance, he should not be playing. But apparently he has recovered enough to be in the lineup, but hitting only .175 is a big problem, and the high strikeout rate. The basic problem is his huge swing, where he nearly comes out of his shoes, and does not make contact; they all know how to pitch him now, and until he adjusts, he will get a steady diet of high heat he cannot hit. He needs to fix that, and then try it again, but the season is now too short for that to happen, so there are better choices available, IMHO.

      • Injured, yes…but hitting the cut-off man is Baseball 101. Years ago a player with his talent would ‘recover’ with the use of banned substances–steroids, et al. Injuries have derailed thousands of ultra-talented players in this sport and others. The Dodgers may be forced to make plans without Bellinger this playoff run and in 2022.

  2. Colletti is spot on but will the mentally challenged Roberts understand this? His lineup cards are always good for a laugh. Do not be surprised if he sits CT3 and Pollack while he inserts Bellinger just to ensure that we have a rally killer in the lineup.

    • Johnnie & Jerry, your comments are spot on. I have posted before that we have pitchers who have a better approach and plate discipline than Cody. Until he gets it through his thick skull and moves off of the plate a little and learns what a two strike approach actually means he may be headed for a DFA, That may be a little strong, but he looks horrible on most plate appearances right now. Sending him to the minors is not the answer, he needs to go to Arizona and learn how to hit. I think we would all agree that he was most likely the best player on the team regardless of point in time, ie: from little league through minors and it is a safe bet that not many wanted to tinker and now he is in a horrible place. He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance right now of hitting anything hard and high in the zone. Doesn’t do much with down and in and is swinging at pitches that are never going to be a strike, he just keeps swinging out of his shoes and then walks back to the dugout with that stupid look on his face. Look, I personally really like Cody, but he does not belong in the lineup. Was a time in the not too distant past that when he would come to the plate in a clutch situation you could have confidence in him producing. Now I expect him to fail. Have zero confidence in this ability to come through in the clutch.

  3. As I recall the Giants are in first place and this club is chasing them. At this point in the season, waiting for Bellinger to come around is something that is more appropriate in the off season when his sub-optimum performances can’t hurt the club.

    The guys who are hitting, fielding and coming through in the clutch, should be in the lineup. The time for patient waiting for Bellinger to come around has long passed and should be evident, even to Roberts.

  4. Belli is still not fully recovered from injuries. So making sure that Pollock starts is a no brained!

  5. Bellinger on downward spiral since second-half of 2019. Injuries sustained toward end of 2020 season hasn’t helped but that does not explain most of 2020.

  6. Last month Bellinger needed a phoney injury so he could get rehab games in to correct his swing. That didn’t happen. He just can’t hit fastballs up in the zone. He needs to rework his swing over the winter and next spring. As to now… he’s mostly ineffective vRHP and totally useless vLHP. He does not seem to be able to make the needed adjustments and stubbornly sticks with what is not working. Hard to fix somebody who doesn’t want to make changes.

  7. It there was a DH, he’d be in danger of having the Dodgers use the DH for him! Kershaw, Urias and Price are outhitting him and Buehler isn’t that far off.

  8. I agree Bellinger needs to sit until he makes adjustments at the plate. When he comes up now it’s almost like having a pitcher in the batter’s box. If the Dodgers were in first place with a comfortable lead the team could take the risk of having two weak spots in the lineup. However, at this time the Dodgers can’t afford to go “Belli-up”.

    • Harsh comments, but right on the money. I always root for Cody, but am as frustrated as everyone. Not easy this game. Regular reps is usually a funk buster, but Cody shouldn’t get Regular reps when Mookie comes back. He will be relegated to a power lefty off the bench and late inning defensive guy. Here’s to Cody finding the magic in the off-season and coming back strong in ’22.

    • How come everyone here knows Bellinger’s problems inluding opposing pitchers, he can’t hit a high fastball nor the curve low and inside. Everyone except Robert’s. Last nights game was the player at the plate Bellinger has become over the past 2 years, weak fly out, strike out and 2 pop ups, the last with 1 out and a man on third costing a run. That long looping swing has more holes in it than a fishing net and he will not shorten it or bunt when it will help his team. Do not know where his head is at or who he is listening to but he is headed out of baseball if he does not seek the right help and listen closely to it.

  9. Colletti should or somebody should explain this to the stubborn Roberts. WE ALL KNOW Bellinger is the odd man out when Betts returns. Roberts can’t possibly justify sitting either CT3 or Pollock down with only 30+ games left to catch up with Giants. But Robetts is clueless and he will ultimately keep Bellinger in there no matter what and will be a HUGE reason if Dodgers fall short in October.

  10. It’s also been pointed out that his defense no longer justify him being in lineup at all. But it may be the FO that’s telling Roberts he has to play no matter what. SMH. if that’s the case here. Bottom line, Bellinger needs to ride the pine for the rest of this year. period!

  11. First of all lets understand that this fellow had to have something to get to the bigs. His uppercut swing was useful until stubborn managers and pitchers who thought they could sneak one past him found out that the high cheese was the ticket. For those of us who have had shoulder surgery can tell you that even with the medical staff and available training and rehab programs the body is different. And if he is a hard sell he will never change the swing because his mind is telling him one thing and his body is telling him another. Back away from the plate. Open your stance, bend the knees and stop dipping the body as the ball approaches the plate. Look at you last home run. The swing was on the plane as the ball the the body was in the correct position.

  12. All the comments about Belli are accurate. What I don’t understand is that Beatty puts the ball in play but does not play.

  13. It’s an unnecessary conversation considering how many games McKinney has played in the last few weeks. Mookie’s return – and we still need to see how well and long he can go – will replace McKinney’s spot in the lineup with plenty of rest for everyone. This team is so talented it almost doesn’t matter who plays. They’re going to win a bunch of games and it’s just a question if the Giants will continue to do the same.

      • My point is Mookie, JT, and AJ are going to be rested frequently to stay fresh for October. Belli will sit some but not as much as the article suggests. I’ll say again think how often McKinney has played this month.

        • McKinney at least is above the Mendoza line at .202. But if those guys ya mentioned will be rested frequently then NOT at the same time. Nothing is guaranteed, and if Dodger offense plays similar to Sundays game then they won’t catch the Giants . And I don’t believe Bellinger deserves more playing time than the others. The guy is lost at the dish right now and he refuses to adjust.

        • right on Bum. Betts sits McKinney when he comes back. CT3 sits Belli in CF. Beatty last man up in the OF. McKinney may be the one sent down while Belli and Beatty pinch hit/sub as needed

  14. Bellringer has had his chances. His Batting slump has now infested his mental capabilities and this has affected his overall playing abilities. He has missed targets multiple times with his bad throws, he is completely unable to tweak his swings to adjust to any type of pitches, he swings with his eyes closed, and his being out there is hindering the teams forward movement, meaning he is a liability and not an asset. Either send him somewhere where he can find himself or set him free.

  15. Pollock is hitting but his defense is not good he’s too slow and has a really weak arm so no he sits and forget about beatty he sucks in outfield. Cory will figure it out in time. But hitting coach whoever it is is not doing his job of telling Cody to stop uppercutting the ball it only creates popups. Cody will get it he’s still not 100 percent .And doesn’t help that when he showed signs of life like it ting 4 hrs in 4 games dumb Roberts benches him.

  16. In some ways Bellinger and Puig are similar players, great talent but not smart ball players. They have the same power, speed, and arm, but make the same kind of bonehead decisions on the field…..missing cutoffs, missing signs, throwing to wrong bases, not understanding situational hitting, and etc. At least w/ the help of Turner Ward, Puig tried to change his approach and swing, Belli is a no change. They sent Puig down AAA, why not send Belli down for correction work. But I guess it’s too late because the minor league season is ending soon. Yes, they have to sit Belli down like they benched Puig for non-performance. However I recalled when playoff time came, Puig was able to rebound and was a shining star on offense even in losses.

    • The Dodgers made their usual mistake of thinking a player with a bad swing can fix it in mlb. Belli has minimal trade value and a very poor hitter because of his stance. He can’t hit low or high in zone strikes.
      I agree he needs to be sent down to AZ to rework his swing, shorten stroke with hope that by playoff time he can be a pinch hitter and recover some value.
      He is no longer a valuable player. Taylor, betts and pollack are set in OF. Beaty is not a bad BU in LF or RF much better value than Belli.
      Dodgers must play best players to win.

  17. I agree most of what is said ]many times does he use 6-8 pitchers per game then find himself out of quality ones at the end of the game crap bringing in a pitcher for a couple batters is crazy the bullpen is not that good to begin with To bring Trienan in for 1 inning is nuts especially if it only is the 7th. How DR gets to keep his job is beyond me

  18. Bellinger established himself in a minor league system where pitchers are either young in their development or not major league level caliber. These pitchers move up and down through the levels and thus no single pitcher faced Bellinger on a regular basis. Cody flourished in that environment, and never had to adjust much to what was being thrown his way. Upon arriving at the majors, he continued to flourish against better pitchers, but also pitchers with only limited experience in throwing to him. In the 7 game WS against the Astros, you could see for the first time that pitchers began to find and exploit his weaknesses. From that point, pitchers have really found multiple ways to get him out. This happens to all hitters, and they have to make adjustments. Cody may be just one of those hitters that can’t make adjustments. It’s a sad thing to watch. They should have sent him to the minors a month ago to refine his mechanics and let him see some successes at the plate. Unfortunately, it’s too late for that now.

  19. He needs to go and sadly enough he usually gets up in crucial situations which even makes his ineptitude more evident. His baserunning (forgetting about his blunder on Sunday) and fielding will be missed but he’s is an automatic out in the lineup.

  20. “Cody has no trade value”?? Wow! If Cody was on another team and Andrew cherry picked him, we’d all be saying Andrew’s done it again! Seriously, the team needs to send Cody a message, but giving up on him should only happen if they hit him with a 2 x 4..up side his head and he doesn’t respond. He’s not very bright so tell him in no uncertain terms “if you want to play, do what we tell ya”.

  21. Relax Dodger Boy and Koofo Bellinger did win an MVP and flirted with .400 for four months or so. As for George did you forget 2019 when he hit almost .400 for the first half of the season/

      • Agree Dodger Boy, Cody’s stats have been trending down badly starting with the second half of 2019. He has not played anywhere close to an MVP since. Said it many times, but Cody is not the brightest bulb in the room as well as saying he is heading for a DFA if he doesn’t/won’t change his approach. Rookie of the Year and MVP will be quickly forgotten if he doesn’t get it together SOON. Really a shame, there is so much potential there if he would only change his approach.

  22. I believe that part of Cody’s problem at work is affected by his personal life changing significantly.

  23. Cody a great player… defensively, hitting has never been great, his eyes moves off plane… way too much… moving ball… moving eyes… very inefficient… if he was playing softball he can get away with it… but, if he can’t hit fastballs solidly in the MLB… he’ll fail… he needs to go back to basics.

    I hope he gets his mind right and work on steadying his eye level… possibly a bend of the knees… and stride …

    Hope Cody finds it…

    • His straight up stance causes his head to drop down when he starts his swing. His eyes go with the head. Added eye movement and with it a loss in body balance is not to his advantage. My concern is he just refuses to make adjustments, and worse, he has little reason to since he is still in the lineup despite very poor performance. If failure is rewarded with constant playing time, why change? Only a brief time left this year to work at the AAA level. The Dodgers show no inclination to force any changes. This is the result.

  24. I agree with it….Temporarily send Belli to AAA that might improved him there. Once he improve there, he is a good additional manpower comes this October. I couldn’t understand why the hitting coach did not give Belli an improvement the correct batting position.

  25. Bellinger may probably be a head case by now. Doc and the hitting coaches MUST have advised him, if they were really doing their jobs, to bunt or try to slap hit to left. And, he has never even tried. Just keeps taking that big, looping strikeout or popout swing. Someone must tell him the facts of life. At 0.174 he must sit.

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