In a casual text conversation with a Los Angeles media friend on Monday he mentioned being told the Dodgers are considering non tendering Cody Bellinger this offseason which would make him a free agent a year early.
Bellinger's fall from grace in such a short time has been eye opening; from an 8.6 WAR MVP season in 2019 to a total of 1.2 over the last three seasons. There's a lot of chatter within the game regarding him changing his approach and falling in love with the launch angle revolution. Dropping his bat to the horizontal position at set up just makes his swing so long now, combine that with his height and upright stance it's almost impossible he can hit with any consistency.
But that's on him.
So the thought crossed my mind. Bellinger is a Chandler native and still spends most of his off season time here. He's making $17 million this year which he's not going to get next year no matter where he plays. Despite his offensive struggles he's a good baserunner and excellent defender at first base which is where the Dbacks would play him. I know Walker's is having close to a career year but is five years older than Bellinger and would still be (a lot) cheaper entering his first arbitration year. Even if the Dbacks double his salary he'd be less than $6 million.
On the other side, we know Kendrick uses both sides of the toilet paper so he's not going to invest in a guy who could add 15% of his payroll, especially not with Bumgarner and Marte on the hook for $36 million. Not only that, he's going to be forced to give guys like Gallen and Varsho big raises next year too.
So, would you consider signing Bellinger to a one year, say $10-12 million deal to come home and play first base? Maybe he has a bounce back of sorts and would stay long term, something in the five year $125 range, or he can continue to suck his way out of the game and you could just walk away, no harm no foul.