The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided not to offer a contract to Cody Bellinger who was awarded the National League’s Most Valuable Player only three seasons ago.
The club announced on Twitter Friday evening that it would “non-tender” Bellinger, immediately dropping the 2019 MVP into the free agency pool.
In that record-breaking season, Bellinger hit a career-high 47 home runs and drove in 115 RBIs at 558 at-bats for a Dodgers squad that won 106 games before losing to the Washington Nationals in the National League Divisional Series.
But in the years since, Bellinger has failed to even scrape those monstrous totals. In three seasons since his MVP year, he combined to hit only 41 home runs and 134 RBIs in 295 games.
Bellinger has struggled with injuries during that stretch and has seen his total games played begin to decrease as the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts explored other options in the outfield and DH spot.
According to MLB.com’s glossary page, when a team “non-tenders” a player, it declines to give that player a contract for the upcoming season. The decision makes the player an immediate free agent.
Despite letting Bellinger test the waters of free agency, Juan Toribio, a Dodgers beat reporter for MLB.com, said the team is expected to explore bringing the two-time All-Star back into the fold at a lower salary.
Bellinger is only 27 years old and has only ever played for one franchise.
He was drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, according to baseball-reference.com.
The Dodgers also non-tendered infielder Edwin Ríos, who played four seasons in Dodger Blue, accumulating 20 home runs and 43 RBIs in 112 games.