1. Cody Bellinger
If Cody Bellinger’s name wasn’t Cody Bellinger, then he might not even be on the Dodgers at this point. His NL Rookie of the Year and MVP seasons are keeping him on this team, even though he has been one of the worst hitters in the league over the last two years.
In 230 games played over the last two seasons, Bellinger has posted a .604 OPS with a 27.2% strikeout rate. Typically players who produce this poorly do not get the kind of leash that Bellinger has gotten, but because he is a former MVP, he has earned some additional leeway. There are 165 players with at least 800 plate appearances over the last two seasons. Bellinger ranks dead last in OPS.
It is not like he is even that great of a fielder anymore, either. While he certainly is above-average, Trayce Thompson has posted more Defensive Runs Saved this season than Bellinger has. The excuse that his fielding is keeping him in the lineup no longer makes sense.
What is interesting is that Bellinger is in his last year of arbitration next season after making $17 million this season. Despite playing so poorly over the last two years, that number is likely not going to go down after he already received it, so the Dodgers can expect to pay Bellinger in the $17-20 million range.
Obviously, the Dodgers have the money to do that, but should they want to? Why pay someone who has been the worst hitter in the league over a large track record that much money?
Andrew Friedman is always a step ahead, and it would not be totally shocking to see him find a suitor for Bellinger that is willing to trade some decent prospects in the hope that he can regain his MVP form. There are always desperate teams out there, and Friedman has always proven that he will do what is best for the team.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Andrew Friedman got just a little bit lucky when they wound up with Trayce Thompson carrying the show.
If Bellinger does not show him something this October then Friedman may start fielding calls for the former NL MVP.