When the Los Angeles Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman vocalized that the team was interested in a reunion, but perhaps he didn’t realize who he was dealing with.
Scott Boras is Bellinger’s agent. Boras is known as a cutthroat negotiator, and Dodgers fans can’t help but think there will be some resentment toward LA after Bellinger’s ~$18 million salary for the 2023 season wasn’t picked up.
The day the news became official that Bellinger was a free agent, there was widespread interest in the former Rookie of the Year and MVP, who has cratered offensively over the better part of the last three seasons. The Blue Jays, Giants, Cubs, Mets and Rockies were among various teams to inquire.
In the end, the Dodgers (and no other team!) could justify paying Bellinger’s full invoice for next season after he’s been good for a 1.2 bWAR since the start of 2020. His -1.5 bWAR effort in 2021 cost the Dodgers the NL West. That 1.2 mark over three years is a fraction of his 16.7 bWAR from 2017-2019. Like we said, no longer the player he once was.
As a result, reports have suggested Boras is seeking a one-year contract for Bellinger in hopes that the slugger can rebuild his value in 2023.
Is Cody Bellinger not going to re-sign with the Dodgers based on principle?
The fact that there’s been no traction in regard to a reunion with the Dodgers might suggest Boras and Bellinger might seek a deal elsewhere on principle. Why would Boras give a discount to a team that cut his player loose and created a bit of a chaotic situation? What would that ultimately say about Bellinger’s “value”? Also, per MLB.com’s Juan Toribio, the Dodgers tried to trade Bellinger, but there were no takers at that price tag.
Boras revealed Bellinger has also received a number of multi-year offers, but MLB insider Jon Heyman relayed there’s a desire for a one-year deal with hopes of landing a bigger commitment next offseason. Are they ghosting the Dodgers, who explicitly stated they’d be interested in a one-year deal at a cheaper price?
Is there a desire for a change of scenery? Are there higher one-year offers out there than what the Dodgers were willing to pay? Is there a desire to spurn LA to prove a point, since they technically “ended” the relationship?
There’s also the important tidbit that the Dodgers rarely ever (if ever) land Boras clients via free agency. Like the Yankees, it wouldn’t be surprising that LA likes to avoid negotiations with an agent of Boras’ ilk because he uses the biggest-market teams as leverage chips.
And since Boras never sells short, it’s clear why he and the Dodgers aren’t a great pairing.