Cody Bellinger delivered on being a promising prospect when the Los Angeles Dodgers called him up in 2017. Bellinger’s MLB debut came due to an Adrian Gonzalez injury, but he wound up sticking with the team even after the veteran first baseman returned.
Bellinger went on to earn an All-Star Game selection and was voted National League Rookie of the Year. He had another All-Star season in 2019 and won the NL MVP Award.
However, the 27-year-old has been on a downtrend since that point. It’s left the Dodgers at a bit of a crossroads with Bellinger eligible for a final season of salary arbitration.
He earned $17 million this season but is at risk of not receiving the usual raise that comes with the arbitration process, and there’s the question of whether the Dodgers will non-tender Bellinger.
“Obviously, Belli’s had spurts of being really successful throughout the season and his elite defense has continued to be there,” general manager Brandon Gomes recently said.
“We still think there’s upside, so those are discussions we’re going to have moving forward as we look into what 2023 looks like.”
The deadline for players to be tendered a contract for 2023 is Friday, November 18.
Bellinger is coming off a season in which he batted .210/.265/.389 with 27 doubles, 19 home runs and 68 RBI over 144 games. The production represented an improvement from 2021 but fell well short of early expectations that were placed on his career.
Cody Bellinger arbitration history
Bellinger’s history with salary arbitration began as a Super Two player. He set a then-record for a first-time arbitration player by earning an $11.5 million salary for 2020, although that wound up being prorated because of the shortened MLB season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bellinger earned a raise to $16.1 million in 2021, and $17 million for this past season. MLB rules stipulate a player can only receive a maximum 20% pay decrease when going through arbitration and/or if under team control with less than three years of service time.
If the Dodgers non-tender Bellinger, it’s still possible to re-sign him.
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