Andrew Friedman: Cody Bellinger Took Non-Tender Decision Like ‘Total Pro’

After struggling for a second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Dodgers did the expected and non-tendered Cody Bellinger ahead of the 5 p.m. PT deadline on Friday. The team also opted against tendering contracts to Edwin Ríos and Luke Williams, making them free agents as well.

Bellinger was set to go through the arbitration process for the fourth and final time of his career. He made $17 million this past season and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive an $18.1 million salary for 2023.

The decision to non-tender Bellinger was difficult as he is only three years removed from winning the 2019 National League MVP Award. He had been part of the organization since being selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft.

Dodgers president of baseball Andrew Friedman broke the news to Bellinger and praised him for being understanding, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

On Friday, Friedman called Bellinger to tell him the bad news. He noted Bellinger was a “total pro” and a “class act” during their conversation, an unfathomable conclusion to a tenure that reached rarefied heights just three years ago.

Bellinger saw an improvement this year in several categories from the 2021 season, but his peripherals still were concerning, as his walk rate and strikeout rate continued trending in the wrong direction.

Although Bellinger is now a free agent, it is still possible he could remain with the organization. L.A. could attempt to sign him to a multi-year contract that would be more team friendly and indicative of his prolonged woes.

Cody Bellinger interest

Given that he is still just 27, Bellinger figures to draw widespread interest that could make a return unlikely. The Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams that have been publicly linked to the two-time All-Star.

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