Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star outfielder Cody Bellinger has notoriously had the expression “he’s a future gold glove winner” follow him around during his first few seasons in the bigs. However, usually the position he was tied to was first base. But he came into 2019 with the organization viewing him primarily as an outfielder, for at least the season. They had Max Muncy and David Freese to man the 1B position — of course, they would also mix Belli in a good amount, when it made sense.
That is until he separated his shoulder on a diving play at first early in May. After missing a couple of starts, Bellinger was back in the lineup and manager Dave Roberts had an announcement: Cody would now exclusively play the outfield.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 5, 2019
Roberts has since eased his stance on the statement, but now Ken Rosenthal over at The Athletic tells us that the team may be looking beyond health when it comes to why Bellinger will continue to patrol right field.
They want him to win a Gold Glove Award. So much so they’re playing Joc Pederson out of position just to keep Cody in the the outfield. Rosenthal on the alignment:
The Dodgers, due to the return of A.J. Pollock, have been experimenting with Joc Pederson at first. Part of their thinking is that with a big division lead, they want to give Bellinger the chance to win a Gold Glove in right field. But against right-handed pitching, they know their best defensive alignment probably is Bellinger at first and Pollock, Pederson and Alex Verdugo in the outfield.
While this is not directly from the organization, it undoubtedly is the sentiment on the inside. If Cody were to bounce back and forth between positions, he would hurt his chances at winning the award.
MLB and award voters have yet to find the way to properly show any love toward utility type players. Perhaps one day they will, but until then, let’s keep Belli in the outfield and let him win the award that he deserves.