Bellinger Signed a One-Year Deal with the Cubs

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Cody Bellinger signed with the Chicago Cubs . Ever since his 2019 MVP award, Cody Bellinger has been a different player. In 2019 Bellinger batted .305/.406/.629 with 47 homers and an OPS+ of 167. That was his 23-year-old season. In 2020, however, things changed. It was a crazy, shortened, whirlwind season ending with the Los Angeles Dodgers bringing home a World Championship. During that shortened season, Bellinger struggled. It seemed as if the pitchers in the league had found a hole in his swing and exploited it–the slider down and in. In that shortened season he turned in a non-MVP line of .239/.333/.455, with only 12 homers, 30 RBI, and an OPS+ of 112. However, the major news was the dislocation of his shoulder that required off-season surgery.

Cody Bellinger’s New Swing

A lot of fans expected Cody Bellinger to solve the problem with the down-and-in slider in the offseason. He is known as a workhorse, but was also rehabbing a shoulder injury that would likely change his swing. It looked like he had adjusted it well in Spring Training as he was connecting well with that pitch. Four games into the 2021 season, however, Bellinger fractured his left fibula and spent almost two months on the shelf.

Unfortunately, Bellinger came back with a new problem catching up to the high heat. The final line he turned in for 2021 was sad to see at .165/.240/.302 with only 10 homers, 36 RBI, and an OPS+ of just 44 in 95 games. 2022 was not much better for Bellinger, but it was not due to a lack of effort. He changed his stance and tinkered with his swing repeatedly throughout the season. As a result, his line was much better than in 2021, but yet still close to the bottom of the league–batting .210/.265/.389 with 19 homers, 68 RBI, and an OPS+ of 78. A third dismal season in a row and a projected arbitration salary of $18M likely were the factors causing the headline: Cody Bellinger Signed his Dodgers Death Certificate.

Cody Bellinger Signed with Cubs

The Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger in the offseason rather than pay him a salary that he had not earned in three straight years. This might have been because they thought a change of scenery was the best thing for his career. Sometimes it is. It might have been because they thought that they could sign him for less than his projected arbitration salary. It might have been because they gave him a lot of leeway and were very patient with him during his struggles, however, they had come to the limit of both. The reason does not matter anymore because Cody Bellinger signed with the Cubs on a one-year, $17.5 million contract with a believed mutual option for a second year.

A lot of times, a change of scenery and an escape from the pressure of performing, or not performing to expectations, is exactly what is needed. Bellinger has a chance to put those struggles behind him and return to Wrigley, where his line is .321/.429/.536 in his nine regular-season games there. The Dodgers organization and Dodgers fans everywhere wish him the best and will not forget his MVP and World Champion years.

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Cody Bellinger

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