So which Cody Bellinger will appear for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022? Is it the one who won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2019 or the one who has fought mightily over the past two regular seasons?
The Los Angeles Dodgers apparently rely on the Bellinger they saw in 2019 and the 2021 postseason to be the one who goes to Camelback Ranch for spring training. That’s the best explanation there can be after the Dodgers Bellinger (according to sources) shortly before the Major League Baseball lockdown went into effect on Jan.
Cody Bellinger has been a two-sided coin for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past few years, and that makes this deal an interesting choice for the franchise
Let’s take a quick look back at the two-sided coin that is Bellinger.
On one hand, you have a player who cut just 0.195 / 0.278 / 0.364 in the last two regular seasons with 151 games and 593 record appearances, deleted 136 times (25.8 percent of the time) and a cumulative OPS + of 72 while 22 Homers were hit and 66 were driven.
On the flip side, you see the 2019 National League MVP slashing .305 / .406 / .629 with 47 homers and 115 RBI on 661 record appearances, posting a 167 OPS + and 19.3 percent of the time during that impressive time failed campaign.
On the same page, you also have a player who, after a terrible 2021 regular season that left people wondering if he should even get any meaningful attacks in September, got .412 / .500 / .588 in 20 record appearances in the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.
There have been moments when Bellinger once again became one of the Dodgers’ best offensive weapons against the Braves, and this contract shows that Los Angeles remembers those magical memories of October more than the blow you get in any other baseball month heard last season.
Granted, Bellinger’s 2021 was riddled with injuries, including a leg injury and a fractured rib, but can Bellinger regain his MVP shape in 2022, or at least become a shadow of what he was this season? The Dodgers are counting on it and giving Bellinger some money that could certainly be spent in other areas, such as helping the rotation or the rear end of the bullpen.
Yes, the Dodgers had a choice of either paying Bellinger or not offering him (since this was his third round of arbitration). And Bellinger has proven over the years that he can make a difference in a Los Angeles lineup. However, with the money spent and the stench of two bad seasons, Bellinger will be under pressure to perform from early 2022.
The Los Angeles Dodgers could have let Cody Bellinger go and saved some money, or they could have signed him and hoped he would recover and revert to his former self. Either way, it was a gamble, but the Dodgers seem to have taken the more familiar route, which is also the higher-risk, higher-reward route.