Free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger reportedly made his free agency decision on Tuesday and signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Bellinger, 27, spent the entirety of his big league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers since being drafted by the organization back in 2013. However, that tenure reached its end after the left-handed hitter decided to take his talents down to the National League Central division.
“Outfielder Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs are in agreement on a one-year, $17.5 million contract,” according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Following the end of an underwhelming 2022 campaign for Bellinger, three years removed from his NL MVP season, the Dodgers elected to non-tender the him.
“Obviously, it’s been a unique path for Cody as he’s battled through injuries and worked diligently over the past few years to return to his All-Star-caliber performance,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, according to MLB.com. “However, it hasn’t played out as well as we would’ve hoped or expected, and therefore we had to make a difficult decision of non-tendering.”
With the Dodgers in 2022, Bellinger played 144 games and batted just .210/.265/.389 with 19 home runs, 27 doubles and 68 RBIs. The picture didn’t get any prettier when the postseason rolled around as Bellinger only managed to hit .143 with one base hit in three games.
Yet, this trend isn’t anything recent. For the last three seasons since his MVP run, Bellinger hasn’t batted over .239, nor has the veteran at least shown a similar ability to hit for power, failing to record 20-plus homers throughout the same stretch.
In 2023, Bellinger will seek a comeback run in hopes of earning a payday next offseason.