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Bellinger Likely To Sign One-Year Deal; Jays Interested

Bellinger Likely To Sign One-Year Deal; Jays Interested

In the months leading up to last week’s non-tender deadline, Cody Bellinger’s status with the Dodgers stood out as perhaps the most fascinating decision among the group, serving as the basis for plenty of spirited debate about whether the former NL MVP would be traded, non-tendered or brought back for one more chance to right the ship in Los Angeles. The Dodgers ultimately made the decision to cut Bellinger loose, making him one of the most intriguing boom-or-bust options on this year’s market — particularly given the scarcity of center fielders.

Agent Scott Boras tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he’s already received multi-year offers for Bellinger — presumably from teams hoping for the chance to secure a player with star potential at what would be a bargain annual value if they’re successfully able to rehabilitate him. However, pointing to Bellinger’s age (27), Boras suggested that he and Bellinger “most likely… don’t want a multi-year [contract].”’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Blue Jays are among the teams to have expressed early interest in Bellinger, adding that they held some trade discussions surrounding Bellinger prior to his non-tender.

There’s good sense to pursuing only contracts that would allow Bellinger to return to the market a year from now. He won’t turn 28 years old until around the 2023 All-Star break, making him the youngest free agent of note this offseason. And although Bellinger has managed just a .193/.256/.355 slash with a 27.1% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate since Opening Day 2021 — due in no small part to a series of shoulder injuries that culminated in surgery — he’s also a former NL Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. From 2017-20, he appeared in 506 games and tallied 2083 plate appearances while batting .273/.364/.547 with 123 home runs, a 21.5% strikeout rate and a 12.4% walk rate.

Even amid his recent offensive freefall, Bellinger has remained at least an average center fielder by virtue of any defensive metric, with Statcast offering particularly bullish reviews of his glovework. Statcast pegs Bellinger at eight Outs Above Average over the past two seasons and placed him in the 63rd percentile or better in arm strength, outfielder jump and sprint speed in both 2021 and 2022. Bellinger swiped 14 bags in 17 tries this past season and is 62-for-76 (81.5%) in his big league career.

Boras represents a pair of former All-Star rebound hopefuls under the age of 30…

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