Sorry we’re a bit late to the party here, but there was no sense in dampening a successful weekend for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who once again disposed of the San Diego Padres after the trade deadline. Healing stuff.
But we’d be remiss not to mention Friday’s postgame commentary concerning Cody Bellinger after the Dodgers lost 7-1 at the hands of those same Pads. The slugger went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Now, since Aug. 26 through Monday’s play, Belli is 2-for-27 with two runs scored, zero extra-base hits, four walks and nine strikeouts.
Silly us for thinking Bellinger might’ve been “back” at any point this season. He’s now slashing a wildly unacceptable .200/.261/.384 with 60 runs scored, 17 homers, 55 RBI, 12 stolen bases, 35 walks and 129 strikeouts in 120 games. His Rookie of the Year and MVP campaigns are history as much as anything in this world.
The only plus in Belli’s game at this present moment is his defense. He’s been good for five Outs Above Average, a 2.5 Def rating (via FanGraphs), and 0.7 dWAR (via Baseball-Reference). Other than that, he’s been downright terrible.
Per Baseball-Reference, Bellinger has been good for a CUMULATIVE 1.2 WAR since the start of 2020. That’s an average of 0.4 WAR per season. That’s … barely serviceable, let alone nowhere close to worth $17 million.
So, might we say Jerry Hairston Jr.’s postgame take on Friday was totally well within his rights and actually more sensible than anybody could’ve imagined?
Jerry Hairston Jr. rightly went off on Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger
Hairston went in on Bellinger’s batting stance, which he deemed “not an athletic position,” as well as an unnecessary deviation from his 2021 postseason approach. Hairston’s frustration has derived from watching Bellinger’s inexplicable struggles when it’s widely known the 27-year-old is far better than this.
What’s the reason for Bellinger’s insistence with his batting stance that isn’t delivering results? Is it him? Is it the coaching staff?
If the Dodgers weren’t cruising to the league’s best regular-season record, you’d bet this topic of conversation would be a lot louder right now.
The fact of the matter is that Bellinger is as close as can possibly be to “unplayable.” Will the Dodgers tolerate this come playoff time? Forget about tolerating it — can they risk it with how stacked the National League is?
Bellinger’s had all season to “figure out his swing,” if that was actually the problem. It’s now September. Banking on a renaissance in October isn’t a winning approach and it’s unclear if LA will give Belli the chance to do that.