Let the early-season hot takes flow, baby! You’ll see it from all corners of Major League Baseball, but the Los Angeles Dodgers perhaps have the most curious/polarizing case as it pertains to former MVP Cody Bellinger.
Bellinger, somehow, was statistically one of the worst players in all of baseball last season. And he didn’t help the cause going 2-for-11 in the team’s first three games (which included an 0-for-8 start).
What’s the reason for this? Well, a dislocated shoulder suffered during the 2020 postseason (that needed surgery not too long after) played a big role … and that was followed by a leg fracture at the start of the 2021 campaign. That forced him to miss 67 games. So, yeah, there’s ample evidence here suggesting Bellinger’s struggles are justified.
But can the Dodgers afford to continue watching this happen before their very eyes assuming it lasts for the better part of this month? Believe it or not, they have the ability to option Bellinger to Triple-A … but would they actually do it?
Could the Dodgers send Cody Bellinger to Triple-A Oklahoma City?
Bellinger still has three minor-league options remaining and does not possess the required five full years of MLB service to deny such a demotion, so the Dodgers have the power to make this happen without much of an issue.
Then again, the roster has enough firepower from top to bottom, so it’s not like Bellinger’s lack of production is going to prevent the team from winning. Most other clubs have 3-4 below-average offensive players. Have you seen the Dodgers’ lineup? Theoretically, they should only have one in Gavin Lux, who might actually end up being above-average should he hit his ceiling. Bellinger makes it two … but he’s also a former MVP, so it’s not like he’s going to be an eternal black hole.
It is worth asking, however, if Bellinger might benefit from a deemphasized spotlight where he can work out his mechanics, because it’s evident something is drastically wrong with his swing, whether it was a result of his shoulder issue or the amount of time he was sitting on the shelf due to injury.
At this moment, it feels unrealistic because it’d be a high-profile decision that would make headlines for all the wrong reasons, and we’re only three games into the season. But what if his poor production lasts another month? Six weeks? The Dodgers might have to have a tough conversation with the 2019 NL MVP.