After a second consecutive subpar season, Cody Bellinger was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers before the November 18 deadline, allowing him to become a free agent one year earlier than anticiapted.
Bellinger struggled mightily at the plate over the past two seasons but nevertheless drew significant interest on the open market. That can be attributed to the 27-year-old only being three years removed from winning the 2019 National League MVP Award.
While the Dodgers had interest in re-signing their former fourth round draft pick, Bellinger ultimately joined the Chicago Cubs on a one-year contract. The signing reportedly includes a $12.5 million base salary next season and a mutual option for 2024.
Bellinger now looks to revitalize his career in the Windy City and believes his recent difficult stretch with the Dodgers can make him a better player in the long run, per Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic:
“It’s tough, I’m not going to lie,” Bellinger said. “But at the end of it all, I’m going to look back and be appreciative that it happened. I’m going to be able to learn from it, I have learned from it. I think it’s going to be better for the longevity of my career.”
Bellinger took MLB by storm in 2017 and earned unanimous NL Rookie of the Year honors that. He enjoyed another productive season in 2018 before his historic campaign the following year.
Since then, however, Bellinger has hit just .203/.272/.376 with 46 doubles, 41 home runs and 134 RBI in 295 games over the past three seasons.
There are reasons to believe Bellinger can bounce back next season as he will be another year removed from shoulder surgery and should benefit from the shift ban going into effect.
Dave Roberts ‘very confident’ Cody Bellinger will return to form with Cubs
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes a change of scenery will help Bellinger get back on track. “I’m excited for Cody,” Roberts said during the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
“He was very good for me. He was a very good Dodger. He grew a lot. And I wish him well. And I’m very grateful to be able to manage him for six years.”
“I don’t think the skillset’s changed. Certainly he’s motivated. Maybe a change of scenery will be beneficial. I know David Ross, I know Jedd (Hoyer). So the environment’s going to be good for him. And again, I wish nothing but the best for Cody.”
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