Andrew Friedman: Dodgers Explored Cody Bellinger Trade Before Non-Tender

The Los Angeles Dodgers did not tender a contract to Cody Bellinger, Edwin Ríos and Luke Williams prior to the deadline on Friday, which made each of them a free agent.

Such a decision with Bellinger grew increasingly likely of late despite his career beginning with winning National League Rookie of the Year in 2017 and an MVP Award two years later.

But Bellinger hasn’t been able to emerge from a downward trend that began in the second half of the 2019 season, and now finds himself a free agent for the first time.

Prior to getting non-tendered, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman revealed the team explored a potential Bellinger trade, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times

“We had conversations with [agent] Scott [Boras] and with other teams,” Friedman said. “Obviously, the non-tender meant we didn’t line up on anything. But it’s hard to go much beyond that.”

Friedman mentioning talks were held with agent Scott Boras as well could suggest the Dodgers broached the topic of re-signing Bellinger to a multi-year contract that perhaps would be a more team-friendly deal.

After earning $17 million this past season, Bellinger figured to see his salary increase if he had gone through the arbitration process once again.

Despite his ongoing struggles throughout the year, the Dodgers stuck with Bellinger as their everyday center fielder. That began to change in September when he fell into a platoon, and Bellinger was benched in Game 4 of the National League Division Series despite the San Diego Padres starting right-hander Joe Musgrove.

“He was upset,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said at the time. “He wanted to be in there. He expected to be in there. All year long I’ve played him against right-handed pitching, and he wanted to be in there. But he also said he’ll be ready for whatever we need.”

Can the Dodgers re-sign Cody Bellinger?

Although Bellinger is now a free agent, he can re-sign with the Dodgers. There could be mutual interest in moving forward with such, but the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays reportedly are interested in Bellinger as well.

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