Outside of the world of the Los Angeles Dodgers, only a handful of teams have done much at all this offseason. The Braves have been active with a bunch of weird, but effective trades (along with a couple signings, and some other teams have picked up players here and there, but it feels like the bulk of the work this offseason has yet to be done on a league-wide scale.
Case in point is the free agent hitters market. Outside of Ohtani, who thankfully signed with LA, most of the big name hitters are very much still available. Some of that is just a function of this weird market that had to wait for Ohtani/Yamamoto, and some of that has to do with Scott Boras being Scott Boras and him wanting to extract every possible cent for his guys.
One such Boras client is former Dodger Cody Bellinger. While Bellinger's ceiling is obviously absurd, as Dodgers fans witnessed early on, his free agency case is a weird one. After winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2017 and NL MVP in 2019 with the Dodgers, Belli forgot how to hit for three seasons and ended up having to take a one-year deal with the Cubs last season. He had a strong bounce back year with Chicago and now is looking to finally cash in in free agency.
Given the lack of supply on the hitting free agent market, it would be logical that teams would be clamoring for a bat like Bellinger's. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly how things have played out, but it does appear at least that his market is finally coming into focus.
Could Cody Bellinger really end up with the Angels this offseason?
The fundamental issue Bellinger has been dealing with this offseason is that his iffy track record at the plate (and 2023 advanced metrics) do not really match up with his contract demands. There have been rumors at points this offseason that his asking price was more than $250 million, which is a big ask given that he averaged a .611 OPS in 2021 and 2022. Still, a reunion with the Cubs has seemed to be on the table, and the Blue Jays were connected with him as well.
However, Jeff Passan threw another possibility out there ($) recently that Bellinger could be a nice fit for the Angels. While their roster isn't in the best state at the moment, especially if Mike Trout can't get healthy, the Angels have money to spend and seem at least somewhat interested in competing in the AL West next season. Replacing Ohtani's bat in the lineup isn't in the cards with this free agent class, but adding Bellinger could soften the blow a bit, and the Angels may be the deep-pocketed suitor Boras has been waiting for.
What does seem to be clear is that once the deadline to file arbitration figures passes on January 12, the big names on the market are going to start coming off the board pretty quickly, including Bellinger. After all, the start of spring training isn't all that far away.