(670 The Score) Just three years after earning NL MVP honors, outfielder Cody Bellinger was non-tendered by the Dodgers in November. He had fallen off considerably from his top form in 2019 and sought a fresh start.
The Cubs believe they'll offer Bellinger his best chance at revitalizing his young career, signing him to a one-year deal worth $17.5 million in December. In bringing in Bellinger this offseason, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer is confident in the team’s infrastructure and optimistic for the results to come.
“Expecting him to have a 1.000 and play Gold Glove center field, that’s hard for anybody,” Hoyer told The Show: A NY Post baseball podcast with Joel Sherman & Jon Heyman. “But the hope is that he gets back to being an All-Star-caliber player, gets back to being an unbelievable talent at age 27 that he is. And he’s working unbelievably hard. One of the things that made me really happy in the process was that it was very clear the minute we expressed interest after he was non-tendered is that he wanted a one-year deal in a place where he felt like he could re-establish his value.
“That was important to me, not looking at a multi-year deal -- ‘I believe in myself. I want to go to a place where I can have success.’ And I felt really good in the process that we could be that place. I think it’s a great ballpark for him. We have everyday at-bats in center field. Both of our hitting coaches were from the Dodgers, and he knew those guys in the minor leagues. So, we had some reasons for him to be comfortable here.
“He has been working unbelievably hard. He has gone to our complex in Arizona every day since we signed him, working on his strength, working on his swing with our coaches. He's incredibly dedicated. So, my hope is that he gets back to an excellent level. It's not going to be through a lack of trying, that’s for sure.”
Bellinger, 27, hit just .203 over the last three seasons. He batted .210 with 19 home runs and 68 RBIs for the Dodgers in 2022. In his MVP campaign of 2019, Bellinger hit .305 with 47 home runs and 115 RBIs. Bellinger is also a two-time All-Star and earned the Gold Glove in 2019.
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