Slugger Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a one-year, $ 17 million deal to avoid arbitration ahead of the Dec. 1 lockout that has shut down Major League Baseball and frozen transactions, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. .
The deal was not announced after the lockout, as teams are not referring to players by name during the work stoppage that has lasted more than three weeks and will run into the new year.
The 26-year-old Bellinger is coming off the worst season of his career, hitting .165 / .240 / .302 with 10 home runs in 95 games. His postseason performance, however, rekindled memories of his 2019 season, in which he hit .305 / .406 / .629 with 47 home runs and won the National League Most Valuable Player award.
Because refereeing salaries almost always go up, Bellinger will make $ 900,000 more than he did in 2020. The Dodgers had the option of paying Bellinger close to $ 17 million or not offering him a contract, which would have made him a free agent.
The deal, which is not guaranteed until Bellinger enters the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, represents his third time through arbitration. Following his MVP season, Bellinger set a record salary for a first-time eligible player at $ 11.5 million. He must reach free agency after the 2023 season.
Bellinger turned 21 in 2017 and hit 39 home runs en route to winning the NL Rookie of the Year. After backing down in his second season, he showed his full potential in 2019, playing well above average right field and spending time in center in addition to first base, where he played more as a rookie.
When Bellinger was healthy in 2021 – a small fracture in his left leg, a broken rib, and a hamstring strain caused him to miss playing time – he was the Dodgers’ everyday center fielder and patrolling it. good. Although his bat never had the desired shape, the agreement indicates that Los Angeles believes it will get back in shape.