The Los Angeles Dodgers notched their 100th win on Sunday despite dealing with numerous glaring roster problems that would probably seal the fate of lesser MLB clubs.
They’ve lost two-fifths of their rotation for the year and Clayton Kershaw, before returning recently, had missed two months.
One of their trade acquisitions at the deadline won’t put on a Dodgers jersey. And former MVP Cody Bellinger is … the worst player in the league?
Actually, there’s one player that’s behind him in fWAR, and that’s Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco. But Bellinger, among qualified players who have at least 300 plate appearances in 2021, has been good for a -1.0 fWAR, which is 251st out of 252. Imagine if he was like … the 175th-worst? The Dodgers would be considerably better.
A rib injury landed him on the injured list in what’s continued to be a nightmare season, but according to an MLB insider, it could get even worse for Belli once November arrives. Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes the Dodgers are going to trade him in the offseason.
Will the Dodgers trade Cody Bellinger in the offseason?
Now, have you ever known Andrew Friedman to part with an asset at its lowest possible value? Very uncharacteristic. However … this is a bit of a different situation.
The Dodgers’ blockbuster trade deadline acquisitions of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner have changed everything. It’s now an immediate priority to hang onto Scherzer and consider a future with Turner beyond 2022 — not to mention, the impending free agencies of Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen, Chris Taylor and others.
Throw in Trevor Bauer’s (likely) messy contract situation, and the Dodgers have a bit of a financial issue, even though that sounds ridiculous given the money they freely spend on an annual basis.
That being said, they also don’t waste money, and Bellinger’s last two seasons have been seriously problematic from both a performance and health standpoint. You might give him a pass for the shortened 2020, but even before his rib injury, he played for about three and a half months and was unable to find his footing alongside some of the best hitters in the game.
So it’s not too farfetched to think the Dodgers might want to a) avoid having to figure out a long-term contract situation with him when there are other players that need to be prioritized on the docket and b) have someone else deal with his escalating arbitration costs (his salary in 2021 was $16.1 million and he has two years left).
OK … well maybe Bowden’s lost it? He’s now throwing in Justin Verlander as a tertiary addition for the Dodgers this offseason. Maybe we shouldn’t take these Bellinger trade rumors too seriously.
At the very least, though, Dodgers fans should have this scenario in the back of their minds because this offseason will present a lot of obstacles. Bellinger becoming a casualty sounds kind of crazy, but with the way everything’s transpired, the front office might just be better off investing elsewhere.