Los Angeles Dodgers fans already got the first indicator that things between the team and Cody Bellinger seemingly weren't good when the Chicago Cubs slugger wasn't present for his team's Spring Training game at Camelback Ranch. He also avoided the media in what was an obvious ploy to put his relationship with his former team in the past.
Bellinger's agent, Scott Boras, instead spoke to reporters and pretty much called out the Dodgers for non-tendering his client, despite the fact it was a totally reasonable decision. Belli was slated to make over $18 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility, but accumulated just 1.2 WAR since the start of the 2020 season.
After the move was official, Bellinger eventually departed for the Cubs, who guaranteed him $17.5 million (and attached a $25 million mutual option for the 2024 season). The Dodgers felt like they could replace the former MVP with a cheaper option that was better on offense but didn't possess Gold Glove-caliber defense. Bellinger's offense was so bad that he was nearly canceling out himself out.
Dodgers fans were admittedly upset to see their homegrown star go, but there weren't a whole lot of dissenting opinions. His struggles reached a boiling point, and the Dodgers had already invested $33.1 million total the two previous seasons for him to get back on track.
That never happened, but we're getting the feeling that Bellinger thought he'd be granted a third chance based on thse quotes from manager Dave Roberts via The Athletic (subscription required).
Dodgers-Cody Bellinger relationship really seems like it didn't end well
At Dodgers Spring Training, Roberts was asked about what went wrong with Bellinger over the last few years and the responses were truly tough stuff.
"Roberts sighed, then paused. 'It’s difficult,' he finally said. 'There’s no exact science to it. I think I’ve shown that I’ve supported him. I’ve given him a lot of leash because he’s earned it, and also I believe in the player, the talent, the person.' 'I wish we could have done more to support him and get some more consistency for him. But our hope is that the change of scenery will kind of tap into something that’s already in there that we know. I’ll always root for Cody.' 'As a coach, you want to feel like you do everything you can. I think we did. Obviously, some of it has to do with the player, and Cody would be the first to tell you that. But also, as far as an organization, you always want to do the most you can for a player.'"- Dave Roberts, via The Athletic
We'll leave all of that there for you to decide how things ended between the two parties. With Bellinger opting against playing at Camelback Ranch, and then Roberts seemingly having a difficult time answering any Bellinger-related questions, it's fairly evident that this topic of still raw.
All we know is that Bellinger can't avoid the April 14-16 series between the Dodgers and Cubs at Dodger Stadium. We'll see ya there.