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Would Dodgers Really Non-Tender Cody Bellinger? Insider Discusses Possibility & LA’s Plans For Belli



For most teams, Cody Bellinger would certainly be a non-tender candidate after struggling for most of the 2021 season, but would the Dodgers seriously consider non-tendering him in the offseason? We discuss LA’s plans for Cody Bellinger and if there’s still time for him to find his swing and have an impact this season. Plus, MLB insider Jon Morosi discusses the possibility of the Dodgers non-tendering the former MVP.

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Written by Doug McKain

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  1. Really, I’m not sure that any team would non-tender any player two years after he had won an MVP. One would have to assume his arbitrtation price isn’t going up. He must still have options. They need to send him somewhere he can seriously work on his hitting issues in relative anonymity. Then, if they still can’t figure things out talk about a non-tender this time next year

    • I think getting rid of this guy, without some SERIOUS co.pensation, would be the height of stupidity & shortsightedness. Anyone who’s ever undergone surgery on a major joint could have predicted major problems or delays to returning as an effective full-time player.

      When a player has had the better part of 3 really effective & productive seasons, and considering how he stupidly (IMO) kept monkeying around with his swing, & especially his multiple injuries this year, he had a rough yr in store for him. This is that year.
      He’s far too talented not to get back to all-star production. Contrary to what I read from some folks, he most certainly is NOT too arrogant to make changes to his stance & swing. Hell, he’s BEEN doing that his whole career. If anything, he needs to find a stance & swing that works & stick with it…but that needs to come when he’s healthy, otherwise it’s just going to be more frustration as his swing protects his injured/surgically-repaired parts.

      So while I DO believe that a lot of his issues are in his head, they STEM from the injuries. I say give him a full, healthy off-season of weight training & a swing doctor, then let him come in fresh, blank slate, next year. If he STILL can’t hit for squat after a good 300-400 ABs or more, then it would be appropriate to look to trade him for a prospect. Even then, I still know he’ll get back to being that super-productive player he was for his first 3 seasons. He will be a consistent .265-.300/.³??-.400/.500+ guy w/30+HRs & spectacular fielding. Question is, will that be with the dodgers or someone else. To scrap him now because of a surgery & injury-plagued year would be colossally shortsighted & emotional. The whole “what have you done for me lately” attitude writ large…and the kind of attitude that also led to the trades of guys like konerko & Pedro Martinez (for more “established” stable veteran types), which robbed us all of enjoying a couple of very good/AMAZING careers. Don’t know about you all, but I hate watching ex-dodgers traded for expediency sake just ripping it up elsewhere. I didn’t even want to get rid of Joc, FFS.

  2. He’d make $13-$16mil next year. That money would be far better served making sure Max Scherzer is a Dodger next year. Although dumping Bellinger, a Boras client, would probably ensure Seager doesn’t re-sign in Dodger blue next year.

    • I don’t think Seager will let Boras decide his decision. He’s a grown man. He’ll do what he wants to do, Belli or no Belli.

      I think Dodgers sign everyone except Jansen… especially if the DH is adopted. J. Turner moves to DH, Seager to 3rd, T. Turner to SS, and Lux to 2nd.

      Kershaw gets 3 years $75 mil…or let him walk
      Scherzer gets 4 years $150 mil….or whatever he wants.
      Extension for T Turner. He and Scherzer are the 2 most important signings.

      DFA Bellinger. Trade for high upside low minors pitching or draft choices if you can get it. He’s too arrogant and stupid to make adjustments. Thinks he knows more about baseball than anyone alive. Addition by subtraction. A team player like Taylor can easily replace belli and d of double his offensive production, without sacrificing much on defense.

    • He’s certainly not going to get much (more) in arbitration, so his contract is a bargain for a starting, gold-glove quality CF who doesn’t hit a lot. But come on, does anyone really think that he’s never going to hit again? You don’t LOSE talent, you lose time & health. Since it’s been FRIGHTENINGLY OBVIOUS that his issues this season began w/the surgery & lack of off-season training while he just worked to regain mobility in the shoulder, doesn’t it make a lot more sense to bring him back & put him in a prove-it type situation next season, kind of like in his rookie year?
      I happen to think he’s going to be good next year. Does MLV do “Comeback Player of the Year” awards? That kind of “good.” I’d just prefer he did that as a dodger.

  3. This is beyond stupid. Completely moronic how the story has become “get rid of him” instead of “let’s see if he can get fixed”.

    In spite of Belli’s offensive troubles, the Dodgers have 95 (and counting) wins and will be in the playoffs. Not a good headline though.

    It’s way too convenient to forget how serious his recent injuries were and on top of all that, his rehab was not that extensive – which is where I believe his issues began – and the Dodgers seemed to just be satisfied with the ole “sink or swim” approach.

    This idea of just giving up makes me feel nauseous. Stop it. Belli needs an entire off-season to work on his problems, he deserves at least that.

    • Finally, someone who calls it like it is. Stop coddling this egoist. It’s been almost a year since the infamous flying elbow bump which was all about him. And thru-out that year although we’ve heard how hard he’s been working at it we see a little change in his batting style which has produced 2 hits in 3 games. Now all of a sudden he has another injury. He’s nowhere near the 16 mil he will probably get. He does seem to have quite a bit of upside but will his ego allow him to do it.

  4. No chance the Dodgers non tender Bellinger. He’s a 5 tool player having a bad year. Those players don’t grow on trees and the Dodgers have shown patience before.Despite what some people write his swing is different since Sept. 12. He’s hitting the ball harder and the process is working.Non tender is a non starter. You don’t go from MVP to DFA in two years.

    • Bellinger is a 6 tool player, if you cout this one:

      HE’S A TOOL

      He refused to even consider advice from ANYONE

      Because he knows better, as his .158 avg shows.

      He’ll, why not sign him to a Mike Trout mega-extension.

      His selfish, egotistical attitude along with Robert’s stupidity in continuing to put the worst….by a mile…hitter in baseball in the lineup has cost the Dodgers at least 5 losses, probably more.

      The need to fire Robert’s and DFA Bellinger at the same time. Don’t need either one, and better off without them

      • I would say more like 10 losses. It wasn’t all on bellinger. Roberts along with Bellingers 100 avg, then playing mckinnley’s 110 avg. put such a burden on the other 6 in the line up that the Dodgers were basically playing a 6 man team against 8. It wasn’t just that Cardinals game either, this went on for at least a month. Just a absolute feeble, insane approach for a team with a 275 million payroll and MUCH better options Rotting in Triple A……Lux and Beaty both players on the World Series team were kept down while a reject was put and kept in right, and Bellinger was allowed to do ANYTHING he wanted no matter how AWEFUL he is……Simply ignorant-lame and little league level coaching decisions..

        • People conveniently forget that, outside of the two-game feast he had earlier this yr (grand slam etc) & his last 2 weeks or so, Lux has produced exactly SQUAT in his (admittedly short) career. As far as I know, it wasn’t due to injury, either…he just didn’t look like he was going to hit big league pitching. Seriously, check his numbers up till 2 weeks ago you’ll see. In about one season’s worth of ABs he had 11 HRs, a horrible avg & OBA, & he hadn’t been good enough in the field to warrant overlooking that. If he was maybe a prior ROY or MVP then I could see giving him the benefit of the doubt (though roberts mishandled that situation w/bellinger), MAYBE. But just bring a guy up on faith that he’s going to do better than his .225-ish avg. & sub-.300 OBA that he’d put up for good parts of 3 yrs? Can’t predict success based in THAT.
          I’m glad they finally did bring him back, though, & I REALLY hope he keeps mashing & has an amazing career here.

      • I guess I just wonder where you get the “too arrogant and stupid to make adjustments” assessment. He’s been making adjustments to his swing etc. since year 1. If anything he’s too insecure. He should have gotten stubborn and STUCK with the swing he landed on early ’19. But if you think that his struggles this yr are NOT due mostly to the major injuries/surgery he underwent, then I dont know what to say. If you’ve ever had a major sports injury (i have, several times), you’ll know that there is little we can do to stop our brains & bodies from making their own adjustments designed to protect the injured or surgically repaired areas, & that it takes a LOT of time & repetition to overcome that.
        Did you know that he was unable to do anything resembling his normal off-season training routine? Couldn’t do the strength training, & especially couldn’t work on recovering his swing. Did ANYONE really expect him to be tip-top & mashing his first year back from shoulder surgery? Especially given that it was his right (the lead * more important shoulder in hitting) shoulder. Add to that the leg fracture & related (hamstring) stuff & it seems too obvious that he was going to struggle badly.
        I’ve said often that this year just may be a wash, & that we should maybe look more to next year for an indication of how he’ll ultimately look going forward. Do I wish Roberts hadn’t immediately plugged CB into the lineup? Yes. I wanted an extended spring training for him, with a lot of time strength & swing work till he was totally comfortable & fluid w/his mechanics. That didn’t happen, & the team & CB have suffered. He isn’t too arrogant to change things…if anything, arrogance would force him to work extra-hard to get back to the “old” CB. He’s not content with hitting this way…does anyone REALLY think that’s the case? No former MVP EVER is OK with it.

      • Have there actually been any reports that he’s refusing coaching? I’ve looked, haven’t found even one credible whisper. All I’ve been able to ascertain is that he’s CONSTANTLY working on his stance h swing. Come on, do you REALLY believe that he’s even REMOTELY OK WITH his numbers? This whole narrative that’s emerged amongst some (impatient, considering ALL the injuries, but esp the surgery) fans that he’s “arrogant” & somehow satisfied with his work & the results…it makes zero logical sense. An arrogant ex-MVP will NEVER not try to improve from these numbers. So even IF he is what ppl are calling him, there’s no way he’s not working to fix his swing. AND, by all the reports I HAVE found, he’s been putting in the extra work, & he’s BEEN making adjustments. If I were a more vindictive person I’d HOPE that he’s nontendered & goes elsewhere to win more gold gloves, silver sluggers, maybe even MVPs, just to run people’s noses in it. But no, I want him to do all that stuff (which I strongly believe, given his talent & history, is inevitable) for my Dodgers, for all of us to enjoy. So shoot me.

  5. For Belli…Injuries at MLB level can truly effect your baseball skills. It takes time to regain form. Hopefully he will soon. But Roberts decision making continues to haunt the Dodgers. He still over manages. We need a fresh change!

    • Agreed. As Much as I support the O LY thing that makes logical sense in bring CB back next year a ar HEALTHY w/a full offseason’s training & weightlifting program under his belt, just to see for sure if he’s magically just forgotten how to hit…I have long wished that roberts had sent him to AZ to work on that swing & shoulder & leg strength, for all of July, August, and/or September. No need to bury the guy under a pile of horrible numbers–that shite gets into any normal person’s head, makes them desperate. Desperate hitters pretty much always FAIL in MLB, no matter how talented. AND there’s the added advantage of not having thar hole in the batting order. I think, had roberts done that, that CB would’ve come back maybe late August or early septwmber with some semblance of his old swing, & I think he’d have been producing much better. But no, had to try to let him work his issues out with the big club. Bad idea that shows a lack of smarts regarding typical progression of 1) recovery & therapy fr. Surgery on a major joint, and 2) how that can negatively affect the fine motor skills & swing mechanics, for a LONG TIME going forward. If nothing else, if I were roberts I’d have taken the fractured fibula as an opportunity to have CB FINISH his physical therapy & strengthen the shoulder, & then redesign his swing in a prolonged spring training-type situation.

  6. People forget Bellinger flamed out after the All-Star break in 2019. It’s been a good two years since he’s been a dominant force. He stopped producing well before the shoulder injury. Excellent defense does not make up for spending an entire season popping up to the shortstop or striking out on a 95 mph fast ball around the shoulders.

    • You have it right Carl. I don’t know who is out there in free agency in the upcoming offseason, but assuming there is a quality outfielder, then a non-tender might make sense. Then there is the deep pockets of ownership to consider. Offering Belli a 1 year contract and sending him to AAA to try to get right might be an option if possible, and still going after a quality FA outfielder.

    • It’s just as easy to forget that CB is one of those OCD folks who’s constantly trying to tinker with the swing…you can’t just attach his issues from late 19 & the TINY sample size of 20 to what’s happened this year. The slump (that was still productive in the HR/OBA/SLG departments) in later 19 plus ALL of 20 adds up to barely over half a season of struggles…but to my knowledge was unrelated to any REPORTED injury. This year? Completely unrelated. This was q1) the shoulder surgery, 2) the lack of off-season training DUE to said surgery, the weakness & new/bad swing habits, & 3) the fracture & related tightness in the leg that cost him a lot of games & any kind of rhythm.
      I dont pretend I know so much that I can project forward & predict that he’ll never hit again when he’s healthy & has a full, relatively healthy offseason. I’m so stupid that I need to SEE that it won’t matter if he’s healthy or not, that he’ll never be a good hitter again. We haven’t SEEN a healthy, unhindered CB ALL YEAR, so how can we make those judgments?

  7. Was Bellinger really the MVP in 2019? He had great stats, until September when he stopped hitting HRs and driving in runs when Muncy got hurt. Didn’t get to 50 HRs after hitting his 40th in mid-August. He was not the best or most important player on the best (regular season) team in MLB. Then the Dodgers went out and got a real MVP (Betts) who didn’t wait until his batting average dropped to .159 to make a change to his batting approach and swing (and that didn’t stick because Bellinger quickly defaults back to his dumb habits by the third AB of a game). Now they’ve picked up another MVP potential player (Trea Turner) who should have been put in centerfield immediately and not wasted at second base.
    Package Bellinger with Gonsolin and trade him to a team that can return legit bullpen arms.

  8. I’ve heard this before. Pollock sucks and was the worst FA signing ever; AF should be fired over it. Seager is too injury prone, always swings at the first pitch in the dirt, sucks as a defender, and doesn’t hit in the post season; they should dump him for Lindor who is waaaay better. JT should not be signed; he can’t catch up to fastballs, is a liability on defense, and is frequently injured.
    Now it’s Bellinger’s turn. He’s had an awful year. He’s also been injured or recovering from injury for most of it. Only a fool would unload Belli at the bottom of his market and AF ain’t one. Let’s see if he can get his head screwed on and body healthy for next year before declaring he should be DFA’d.

  9. I’d non-tender Bellinger. His problems didn’t start this year. It started in July 2019. Since July 2019 his numbers have consistently been on a down slope. Injuries this year have just exasperated a career that hasn’t looked good for 2 1/2 seasons.

    He doesn’t seem to be a very bright athlete. He certainly looks uncoachable and he appears clueless about how to adjust his game. Changing his batting stance isn’t the solution. It’s changing his approach to hitting by dumping his extreme “sit and lift” 50 foot long single zone swing from his arse hitting philosophy that depends on pitchers throwing to contact in that one zone that needs to change. His inability to adjust has resulted in pitchers, all of them, simply throwing him fastballs up out of the strike zone and wide of the strike zone because they know he will swing at (and miss) that pitch every time.

    If he’s non-tendered will he come out of it and be productive elsewhere? Probably. Is it worth $12+ million to take a chance on his again? No. The Dodgers should be several games ahead of the Giants right now, not a game behind. That’s the cost of having Bellinger in the line-up this year.

    MLB is a business. You don’t fall in love with players. Players produce, they put butts in seats and they get paid boatloads of money. He’s neither producing nor putting butts in seats. Let him go.

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