In December the Los Angeles Dodgers tendered contracts to Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Dylan Floro, Corey Seager and Julio Urias at the deadline. Scott Alexander was also eligible for salary arbitration, but he re-signed with the club on a one-year deal.
L.A. additionally struck a trade to acquire Corey Knebel on Dec. 3, and tendered him a contract. The right-hander was a candidate to be non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers, and several teams reportedly were looking forward to pursuing Knebel in free agency.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Knebel by agreeing to a one-year contract, and did so with Floro as well. Teams faced a 10 a.m. PT deadline on Friday to settle with their arbitration-eligible players, or salary figures would then be exchange in the first step toward a hearing.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Dodgers and Bellinger avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract:
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers settle at $16.1M
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 15, 2021
This marked Bellinger’s second time going through the arbitration process. He previously broke the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant’s record of $10.85 million salary as a first-year arbitration-eligible player by earning an $11.5 million contract for the 2020 season.
Although Bellinger was coming off an MVP campaign, he was among the players who battled inconsistency during a unique and shortened season. Bellinger played in 56 games, batting .239/.333/.455 with 12 home runs and 30 RBI.
Even with some ups and downs at the plate, he continued to provide stellar defense in center field. Though, that fell short of winning a second consecutive Gold Glove Award as it went to the San Diego Padres’ Trent Grisham.
Various projection models had Bellinger in line to receive a 2021 salary that ranged from $11.5 to $15.9 million.
Bellinger glad to have struggled
Rather than become frustrated by not meeting expectations, Bellinger found a silver lining with his struggles during the 2020 season by taking solace in the fact that he was improved down the stretch.
That was evident by Bellinger’s ability to work the count and his four home runs and 13 RBI during the postseason. The maturation process in the batter’s box was something Dodgers manager Dave Roberts commended Bellinger for during the playoffs.
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