Cody Bellinger’s rough free agency situation is exactly why Dodgers don’t deal with Scott Boras

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Last week, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) meditated on the Dodgers' and Braves' resistance to dealing with high-powered agent Scott Boras as four of his biggest clients — Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Matt Chapman — remain unsigned. Meanwhile, players across the league have already reported to spring training, and Opening Day is just a few short weeks away.

The Dodgers have made and do make exceptions — James Paxton is a Boras client — but they typically resist the most expensive names, as they have been skirted and burned by some (Gerrit Cole, Corey Seager) in the past. This explains why they haven't been interested in either Snell or Montgomery, even when they were hurting for starters toward the beginning of the offseason. Boras likes to do things his own way, and the Dodgers like to do things their own way.

The snail's pace at which these players' free agencies have crawled has been confounding. Bob Nightengale, in an appearance on Foul Territory, gave some insight into the state of former Dodger Bellinger's market. Nightengale believes that the Cubs are the only team still interested in Bellinger, and they're holding the line and insisting that he and Boras move before they do.

Dodgers making the right call on Scott Boras clients as Cody Bellinger's free agency continues to stall

Some teams originally thought to be good fits for Bellinger — the Phillies, Giants, Blue Jays — haven't seemed to extend their interest further. The Giants signed Jung Hoo Lee to play center field, and the Blue Jays re-signed Kevin Kiermaier. Bellinger's asking price may be the issue; he's reportedly seeking upwards of $200 million on his next contract. His resurgent 2023 season with the Cubs was pretty remarkable after the ugly downturn he took with the Dodgers following his 2019 MVP year, but teams could be worried about the staying power of that bounce-back.

The Cubs clearly want Bellinger back in Chicago. Dansby Swanson has said that re-signing him should be a top priority for the club, and the team knows that whatever they did to help him facilitate his reinvigoration worked for everyone, but they also, admirably, don't seem willing to bend entirely for Bellinger. Nightengale supplied an anecdote about another unsigned Boras client JD Martinez, who resisted a $110 million deal with the Red Sox until late February before finally agreeing and spending five years in Boston.

The Bellinger mess should reassure the Dodgers that they're making the right call on big Boras clients. Clearly, they're capable of putting together winning teams without them.