Where Will Cody Bellinger Call Home in 2024?
One of the more intriguing stories of the offseason has been surrounding Cody Bellinger’s free agency. There have been many teams linked to his name, and many teams could use his services, but there is no news on his ultimate destination. Belly is coming off a fantastic season and is looking for a large payday, which could be causing the hold-up for his John Hancock. Bellinger is a former MVP, 2x All-Star, just finished in the Top-10 for MVP voting, and is only 28 years old. So what’s the hold-up? It is because Cody Bellinger wasn’t good at baseball (at least statistically) for the three years before the 2023 season. Albeit that he did deal with some injuries in the middle there, I don’t think this was the problem.
In 2020, he played 56 out of 60 games; in 2021, he played in 95 of 162, and then in 2022, he made it through 144 of 162. I point this out: Before the 2021 season, Bellinger underwent shoulder surgery and came back for spring training. Shortly after the season got underway, he suffered another injury, this time to his left fibula. Unfortunately, after some medical scans revealed he had suffered a hairline fracture, Bellinger would now be out until the end of May and ultimately miss 67 games during the 2021 season. Even if we were to call 2021 a wash, Bellinger played in 93% of games in 2020 and then 89% of games in 2022. 2020 was weird for everyone, and I can get that some players are creatures of habit (like myself) and simply never got in a rhythm during the 2020 season. That being said, I am going to give Cody Bellinger the benefit of the doubt for 66% of his unfortunate results from 2020-2021 due to 2020 weirdness and injuries.
Photo Credit - MLB PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES
What I can’t look past is 2022. Bellinger had the lowest on-base percentage of all qualified hitters in the majors at .265. Let that sink in for a moment: a former MVP and 2x All-Star before 2022 was DEAD LAST in the majors in getting on base. Billy Beane is puking somewhere right now just from me writing that sentence. Belly also owned a .210 batting average with 19 HRs & 68 RBIs and struck out 150 times in 504 at-bats. No kidding, the Dodgers decided to non-tender him, letting him become a free agent.
Well, that is all in the past, and in 2023, Bellinger joined the Cubs and began mashing again! Slashing a .307 BA | .356 OBP | .525 SLG with 26 bombs and 97 RBIs, Belly knew money, and his career was on the line. You have to love the dawg in Bellinger for adjusting to a new city and playing the way he did. Maybe the change in scenery was all he needed.
Now comes the fun part: guessing where he is going to land. I can do an in-depth pitch on every team and why they could use a Cody Bellinger in their lineup, but let’s just focus on the actual contenders. The teams that I keep hearing/seeing being associated with Bellinger are the Cubs, Blue Jays, Giants, Angels, and Mariners.
The Cubs are an easy choice, as he is already in Chicago. They are rebuilding and have some nice pieces already. Not to mention, he just came off a great season with this ball club. The Angels aren’t good, but they would probably offer the most money. The Blue Jays are interesting as they are trying to contend like the Cubs, Mariners, and Giants, but they might have the toughest hill to climb for the playoffs being in the AL East. The division is a dog fight every year, and usually, a team that doesn’t win the division ends up earning a Wild Card spot or two. The point is that the AL East is a gauntlet. The Mariners would be fun, but after the Haninger / Robbie Ray deal, I don’t see it happening, but hey, who knows? That leaves the only other team I am taking seriously in this pursuit which is the Giants. They need an OF, and Belly is familiar with the West Coast. I think the Giants are the only team that can pull Belly away from Chicago. That being said, I do not think they will be successful in doing so.
I know the Cubs have been quiet, but with the Imanaga signing, I think the Cubbies are starting to loosen the purse strings. Next up, Cody Bellinger!
Prediction = CHICAGO CUBS
Cody Bellinger’s Career Stats:
.258 AVG | .335 OBP | .493 SLG | .829 OPS | 178 HR | 519 RBI | 82 SB