1. Dodgers Have a Better Version of Cody Bellinger Waiting in James Outman
Out with the old, in with the new. If Cody Bellinger continued playing at the same level we saw him play at from 2017-2019, then he would never have been non-tendered. However, Belli has been one of the worst players in the sport the last two seasons, and it is time for the Dodgers to find an improvement.
Whether or not the team brings in Judge, the Dodgers have a left-handed outfield improvement waiting in James Outman. Outman probably will never reach the same ceiling as Bellinger did in his MLB career, but he absolutely should be better right away than Bellinger has been the last two years.
Outman has been the best hitter in the entire Dodgers farm system, recording two cycles in a single week with Triple-A Oklahoma City to highlight his incredible 2022 stat line. Outman posted a .978 OPS with 31 home runs and 106 RBI in 125 minor league games last season.
He also thrived in his very brief big-league appearance, as he went 6-for-13 with two doubles and a home run in four games played for the Dodgers. All the signs are there for Outman to be an everyday outfielder in 2023 and beyond.
Outman is faster than Bellinger and can have the same defensive impact that Bellinger has had. Bellinger’s defense is a tad overrated, and with his speed and insane arm strength, Outman can ensure that the Dodgers are not losing much defensively.
Heck, an outfield of Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and James Outman would be the best defensive outfield in the entire league, and it probably would not even be close.
Better yet, there is a good chance that Outman is even better next season than he was in the minors. The one flaw with Outman’s swing is that he is a very pull-heavy hitter. With MLB banning the shift in 2023, there are going to be so many more pull-side hits that find a gap on the right side that were outs in 2022.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have to replace Justin Turner this offseason. If so, there are some talented right-handed sluggers to sign.
It is really easy not to pay Bellinger for his past performance that took place four years ago when you have someone who can instantly be far better than Bellinger has been in the last three seasons.