Outfielder Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year $17MM contract per ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel. This deal registers as a $900K raise on the player’s 2021 season. The deal was reached prior to the sport’s December 1 lockout, but was not officially announced due to the league’s mandate that prevents clubs from discussing player personnel.
The $17MM salary is quite a boon for a player coming off a season that was below replacement-level, as Bellinger slashed just .160/.240/.302 in 95 injury-plagued games. The Dodgers could have non-tendered Bellinger instead of paying such a handsome fee for a hopeful bounceback campaign, but are one of the few clubs in the league who have the payroll to support such a risk. Further, Bellinger’s salary isn’t guaranteed until he makes the team’s Opening Day roster, meaning there’s still time for the team to backpedal if they lose faith in their decision.
It’s not long ago that non-tendering Cody Bellinger would’ve seemed preposterous, considering Bellinger set an arbitration record after his MVP 2019 season. That .305/.406/.629 campaign is slipping further into the past, but the Dodgers were surely encouraged by Bellinger’s .353/.436/.471 showing this past postseason. The former-MVP can be controlled through the 2023 season via arbitration.