Cody Bellinger has only been a free agent for a few days, and several teams are very interested in bringing him on board. I’ve already given my two cents on the situation; I hope the Atlanta Braves take a flier on the former NL MVP. It makes sense for both sides.
Why I like the Braves chances at potentially signing Bellinger is the fit. There should be mutual interest. The Braves have a need and love one-year, prove-it contracts. On the flip side, those one-year contracts have typically turned out very favorably for the players that have signed with the Braves. They’ve shown they are one of the best organizations at unlocking talent at the major-league level, and that should be exactly what Bellinger desires. Not to mention, he’ll probably want to play for a team that is competitive after spending his career in Los Angeles.
No matter how Bellinger performs offensively, he’ll be an upgrade over Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario because of his defense alone. However, that doesn’t mean Bellinger will be worth the one-year contract he desires to sign. I expect him to eventually ink a deal in the $15 million range. For him to be worth that, he’ll have to be better offensively than he has over the last two seasons, in which he recorded just a .193 average and 29 home runs in 239 games.
It’s a balance of risk/reward, but if there’s any organization that could fix Bellinger offensively, it would probably be the Braves. They have a long track record of success with such investments; however, there is one reason why I could see Atlanta and other clubs hesitant to take a risk on Bellinger. He’s spent his entire career with the Dodgers — an organization known for incredible development themselves.
That doesn’t totally eviscerate my interest. I still would like to see the Braves take a chance on him, but it’s not my money, and I also don’t know exactly how much the team has to spend. The risk is minimal because of Bellinger’s defense and the fact that he’s only looking for a one-year contract, but if the Dodgers can’t improve his bat, I’m not sure the Braves will have much luck either. It could be an issue between the ears, which can only be fixed by one man, Bellinger himself.
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