3 high-priced Dodgers who could get the axe after terrible 2022 starts

Thomas Carannante
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 24: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the San Diego Padres looks on as Justin Turner #10 and Max Muncy #13 congratulate Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after his three-run homerun during the fifth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 24, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 24: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the San Diego Padres looks on as Justin Turner #10 and Max Muncy #13 congratulate Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after his three-run homerun during the fifth inning of a game at PETCO Park on April 24, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

1. Cody Bellinger

To be frank, a good amount of Dodgers fans believed Cody Bellinger had a shot to be non-tendered last offseason. If not for an admirable postseason performance, he actually might’ve been.

But in 95 games last year, Bellinger was statistically one of the worst players in all of Major League Baseball. Not an exaggeration. He hit .165 with a .542 OPS and 44 OPS+. He couldn’t even positively contribute on the defensive side (-0.2 dWAR), which is usually his strong suit.

He hasn’t been as dreadful in 2022 — as evidenced by his 1.1 WAR through 62 games — but the Dodgers would be a bit off their rocker to pay Bellinger close to $20 million in 2023 based on his continued struggles on offense. He’s hitting just .203 with a .651 OPS and 78 OPS+, which isn’t going to cut it for one of the highest potential salaries in the league.

The Dodgers were likely hoping the dust settled from all his injuries in 2022, but Bellinger’s only been marginally better than he was in an all-time worst 2021. Wouldn’t that money be better used to pay Trea Turner, if possible? Don’t forget Aaron Judge is hitting free agency and has been playing a ton of center field this year. Brandon Nimmo could be a lower-cost option that has put up far better numbers over the last three seasons.

Los Angeles gave Bellinger a second chance at a steep price tag of $17 million for this year. It’s doubtful they’ll make that mistake again (for more money) if this continues for the remainder of the campaign.

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