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Cody Bellinger’s future is uncertain

Bellinger is expected to be owed over $18 million at arbitration.

Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Cody Bellinger burst onto the scene in 2017 and instantly became a fan favorite. In his rookie season, Bellinger hit 39 home runs and drove in 97 runs on his way to the National League Rookie of the Year award. He took the next step toward stardom in 2019, when he became sixth Dodger since 1962 to win the National League Most Valuable Player.

Just three years later, Bellinger’s contract may be non-tendered.

The Dodgers’ decision on Bellinger is going to mark a turning point for the franchise, writes Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. The Dodgers have two options. They can go to arbitration with Bellinger, where he is expected to make over $13 million, or they can non-tender his contract and explore other options in center field.

Bellinger’s downfall has truly been remarkable, one unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time. After breaking the NL rookie record for home runs in a season (Bellinger’s record has since been broken by Pete Alonso) and producing an unbelievable MVP campaign, Bellinger’s game has transformed into one of the worst offensive performances in the league.

His glove is off the charts. There is no denying that. Time and time again he has proven that he is among the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Plus speed. Plus glove. Plus arm. He can do it all out there, and it is why he has remained in the lineup for as long as he has.

Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers need to figure out if they want to continue with the Bellinger experiment for a hefty price, or move on and give up on the former MVP.

Dodgers Links

Many of baseball’s biggest free agents don’t sign until the Winter Meetings. Compared to NBA and NFL offseasons, the MLB offseason is slower paced, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register.

Alden Gonzalez of ESPN writes about the Angels’ signing of Tyler Anderson, which results in the Dodgers receiving a compensation pick in next year’s draft.

Justin Verlander and Sandy Alcantara took home Cy Young awards on Thursday as Julio Urias finished third in the National League voting, writes Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press.