The Dodgers made the long-anticipated decision to not tender Cody Bellinger a 2023 contract, but he wasn’t the only player let go before Friday’s deadline to do so. Edwin Ríos and Luke Williams were also non-tendered by Los Angeles.
It marks a stunning fall for Ríos, whose seven home runs ranked second on the team on June 3, when he landed on the injured list with a right hamstring strain. That wiped out two and a half months for Ríos, who wasn’t even called back up to the majors in August when his minor league rehab assignment ended. He ended the season in Triple-A.
Ríos hit .219/.299/.492 with 20 home runs in 291 plate appearances for the Dodgers in parts of four seasons. He also had a 32-percent strikeout rate and was limited to the corner infield defensively. Ríos was more known for his bat, and as such he made 19 of his 20 starts in the majors in 2022 at designated hitter.
Andrew Friedman on a Zoom call Friday said the Dodgers’ left-handed batters, including Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy — who play Ríos’ main positions — plus James Outman and new 40-man roster addition Michael Busch pushed Ríos further down the depth chart.
“It was just fit right now for him,” Friedman said. “Helping get into a spot where he can get more opportunity, I think that was really important to him at his age.”
Ríos slugged .634 in 60 games in 2019-20, his first two major league seasons, but has suffered through two injury-plagued years since, slugging .365 since the start of 2021. He missed the final five months of the 2021 season after shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. Ríos turns 29 in April.
With three years, three days of major league service time, Ríos was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. MLB Trade Rumors projected his 2023 salary to be $1.4 million.
Now he’s a free agent, as is Williams, who wasn’t yet eligible for arbitration. The Dodgers claimed the utility man off waivers from the Marlins on November 8, but now have instead opted for the extra roster spot instead as they head into what figures to be a busy offseason.
With Bellinger, Ríos, and Williams non-tendered, the Dodgers have 35 players on the 40-man roster.