When Cody Bellinger was officially non-tendered last Friday, I quickly wrote about how he and the Braves are a perfect match for several reasons.
Alex Anthopoulos is searching for an everyday left fielder. Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario were abysmal last season, and the Braves can’t go into next season hoping they will turn it around. However, Atlanta also doesn’t have a bunch of cash to spend on the position, given their already high payroll and massive void at shortstop. It’s likely all of their money will be tied up with Dansby Swanson or another premier shortstop. The Braves will be hesitant to hand any outfielder a multi-year contract.
Enter Cody Bellinger. When he originally became a free agent, I imagined he would likely be looking for a one-year deal at a place where he could prove himself. Now, we know that’s the case, as Ken Rosenthal reported it late last night in an article for The Athletic.
“I’ve already been offered multi-years,” Scott Boras (Bellinger’s agent) said via The Athletic. “Most likely, because of his age, we don’t want a multi-year.”
Bellinger is 27-years-old and coming off two back-to-back abysmal seasons. This year, he posted just a .654 OPS over 144 games; however, he did accrue a respectable 1.2 WAR because of his plus-defense. At the very least, he will provide that in Atlanta, giving the Braves arguably the best defensive outfield in baseball. But the real prize reveals itself in Bellinger can find himself offensively.
That’s something Braves have been the best at over the last few years. A countless number of players have come to this organization, broken out offensively, and signed lucrative deals elsewhere the following offseason. That’s what Bellinger is looking to do, and if you ask me, the proof is in the pudding. There is no better place for him to end up than Atlanta.
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