Team Mexico was dealt a tough loss by Italy in the World Baseball Classic, as reported by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Dodgers’ first baseman Gonzalez’s bat has been stifled, going the entire tournament without a hit thus far.
Adrian Gonzalez has an iron man-like reputation, consistently putting together 11 straight seasons with at least 150+ games played. He started his career with the Rangers. After two seasons, he was traded to the Padres and he became a superstar. From there, he was traded to the Red Sox for a short, regrettable stint. Now he is on the Dodgers, and the fans in Chavez Ravine love him.
Adrian Gonzalez is more than just a big bat in the Dodgers’ lineup. He is someone who gives back to those that have helped him. He has a charity foundation, the Adrian & Betsy Gonzalez Foundation which helps underprivileged youth in San Diego. It’s his bat, however, that fills the seats at Dodger Stadium. For 9 of the last 11 seasons, he has had at least 20 home runs. Vin Scully dubbed him the “egg and butter man” because the dude can produce.
At present, things have slowed down for the 34-year-old Gonzalez. Last year marked the first year in his career since 2005 that his OPS dropped below .800. His home run total dipped below 20 for the first time since 2012, and in that year, he was still recovering from shoulder surgery.
Gonzalez is signed through 2018, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and next year is an important year for the beloved Dodgers’ first baseman. If his production continues to decline, it will put the Dodgers in a difficult position. They want to field a World Series caliber roster, but Adrian is easily a fan favorite and has a solid chance to replicate his previous success.
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Knocking on the door is Cody Bellinger. MLB Pipeline ranked Bellinger as the #1 first base prospect in baseball for 2017:
- Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Dodgers
"The son of former big leaguer Clay Bellinger, Cody has quickly developed into the top power-hitting prospect in the Minors. The 2013 fourth-rounder hit 30 home runs in the California League as part of a breakout 2015 campaign and added 26 more last season while reaching Triple-A at age 21. Defensively, scouts view Bellinger as a future Gold Glover at first base who also can offer value with his ability to play all three outfield positions."
Adrian Gonzalez has been one of the most consistent bats for the Dodgers in recent memory. Dave Roberts will pencil Gonzalez into the starting rotation this season. How the Dodgers try to assimilate Cody Bellinger in 2017 remains to be seen.
If Gonzalez is productive next year, then Bellinger likely will be forced into the outfield. However, if Gonzalez’s stats last year are a sign of true decline, then we may see Bellinger get more starts than anticipated at first base.