Dodgers Rumors: Cody Bellinger Breaks Kris Bryant’s MLB Record For First-Year Arbitration Player
Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Cody Bellinger and Jedd Gyorko during batting practice at Petco Park
Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

Once a top Los Angeles Dodgers prospect, Cody Bellinger has developed into one of the bright young stars in baseball since making his MLB debut in 2017.

After winning a unanimous National League Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, Bellinger had a bit of a down year in 2018. He struggled against left-handed pitching which led to him being platooned for much of the second half of the season.

Bellinger used that as fuel and showed up to Spring Training in 2019 as a man on a mission. He got off to a monster start to the season and maintained that excellence throughout, winning his first career NL MVP by edging out Milwaukee Brewers All-Star Christian Yelich.

In 156 games, Bellinger hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 121 runs scored and 115 RBI while also playing outstanding defense at multiple positions to win his first Gold Glove.

Bellinger became eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and was expected to be a beneficiary of his outstanding MVP season. He was projected to receive $11.6 million, which would have broken Kris Bryant’s record of $10.85 million for first-year eligible players.

It appears that Bellinger has even exceeded his projection though as according to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, Bellinger avoided arbitration by agreeing to an $11.5 million contract for the 2020 season:

The Dodgers are also said to have come to terms with Kiké Hernandez, Ross Stripling, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. L.A. has not had an arbitration hearing since Joe Beimel in 2007, so it is not surprising they were able to lock up their star player without any issues.

With L.A. currently comfortably below the luxury tax threshold, it will be interesting to see if they discussed a potential contract extension for Bellinger or any of their other arbitration-eligible players. He is represented by Scott Boras, and his clients typically don’t sign extensions of that nature.

This offseason has been a relatively quiet one for the Dodgers. Now that they’re just about finished taking care of their own players though, they can shift their focus to the trade and free-agent markets to give Bellinger and Co. some help as they look to get back to the World Series in 2020.

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