Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Cody Bellinger’s career with the Los Angeles Dodgers was a tale of two completely different stories. In the first half of his time in L.A., he was a superstar and one of the brightest young players in the game, but that quickly declined and he became one of the least productive.
From his MLB debut in 2017 through 2019, Bellinger hit .278/.368/.559 with 111 home runs while posting a 140 wRC+ and 15.1 WAR, along with winning Rookie of the Year and National League MVP. Those numbers took a massive drop in 2020 as he posted just above league-average production, but still helped the Dodgers win the World Series.
However, a shoulder injury suffered during the playoffs took Bellinger’s career off track. In the following two seasons, Bellinger hit .193/.256/.355 with a 69 wRC+ and 0.7 WAR, along with only 29 home runs.
The Dodgers decided to move on from Bellinger by non-tendering him, and he signed with the Chicago Cubs, but manager Dave Roberts wishes his club could have done more to help the former star, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I think the whole net of it was a great run for Cody, for the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “I wish we could have done more to support him and get some more consistency for him. But our hope is that the change of scenery will kind of tap into something that’s already in there that we know. I’ll always root for Cody.”
Roberts couldn’t specify how the Dodgers could have done better by Bellinger, and noted some of the onus falls on the individual to improve:
“I don’t know,” he said. “But as a coach, you want to feel like you do everything you can. I think we did. But obviously some of it has to do with the player, and Cody would be the first to tell you that. But also, as far as an organization, you always want to do the most you can for a player. Sometimes you just don’t have any answers. It’s not an indictment on anyone.”
The Dodgers were said to have interest in re-signing Bellinger at a lower cost, but he developed a robust market and wound up signing a one-year, $12.5 million contract with the Cubs that includes a mutual option for 2024 and $5 million buyout.
Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, said his client received multi-year contract offers but was intent on signing for just one year in order to re-establish value.
Cody Bellinger appreciated struggles with Dodgers
Although Bellinger would have obviously loved to continue performing at MVP levels, he believes difficult stretches with the Dodgers can make him a better player in the long run.
Roberts also expressed his optimism that Bellinger can return to form and expressed his appreciation to be able to work with the center fielder for six seasons.
“I don’t think the skillset’s changed,” Roberts said. “Certainly he’s motivated. Maybe a change of scenery will be beneficial. I know David Ross, I know Jedd (Hoyer). So the environment’s going to be good for him. And again, I wish nothing but the best for Cody.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!