Dodgers to make OF Cody Bellinger a free agent

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers non-tendered outfielder Cody Bellinger Friday in a move that makes the 2019 National League MVP a free agent.

Outfielder Luke Williams and infielder Edwin Ríos were also non-tendered.

Bellinger, 27, played in 144 games for the Dodgers last season, hitting .210 (106-for-504) with 27 doubles, 19 homers and 68 RBI. The Arizona native won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2017, hitting .267 with a National League rookie record 39 homers. In 2019, he won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, slashing .305/.406/.629 with 47 homers and 115 RBI. During that campaign, he became the only player in franchise history win the MVP, Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger in the same season. He spent parts of six seasons with the Dodgers, hitting a combined .248 with 152 homers and 422 RBI. He was drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2013 First Year Player Draft out of Hamilton High School.

Bellinger still had one more season of club control but at a projected salary of at least $18 million for 2023. The Dodgers still could work out a new deal with the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year, or he could move on to another club.

The two-time All-Star batted .210 with a .654 OPS last season, although those numbers were better than what he posted in 2021: .165 and .542. He had 19 home runs and 68 RBIs in 144 games last season after hitting 10 home runs with 36 RBIs in 2021.

During his MVP season, Bellinger batted .305 with a 1.035 OPS and hit 47 home runs with 115 RBIs.

The downfall for the Arizona native appeared to come during Game 7 of the 2020 National League Championship Series. Bellinger hit a go-ahead home run against the Atlanta Braves, in a victory that put Los Angeles into the World Series, but he partially dislocated his shoulder in a celebration with teammate Enrique Hernandez.

Bellinger had a surgical procedure to repair the shoulder that offseason, then came away with a leg injury early in the 2021 season that cost him nearly two months.

Over six seasons and 745 games with the Dodgers, Bellinger is a career .248 hitter with an .819 OPS and has 152 home runs with 422 RBIs. He is considered a well-above defensive player in center field and at first base.

Williams, 26, was selected off waivers by the Dodgers on November 8. He played in 79 games last season with San Francisco and Miami. He began the season with the Giants, hitting .250 with three RBI before being designated for assignment on May 21. He finished the season with the Marlins, hitting .235 (27-for-115) with four doubles, one homer and three RBI. He has been in the Major Leagues parts of two seasons, hitting a combined .240 (54-for-225) with nine doubles, two homers and 12 RBI. In seven minor league seasons, he has hit a combined .241 with 24 homers and 174 RBI in 486 games. He was originally drafted in the third round of the 2015 First Year Player Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ríos, 28, played in 27 games for the Dodgers last season, recording seven homers and 17 RBI. He missed most of the season with a right hamstring strain and finished the campaign with Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting a combined .259 with nine homers and 39 RBI. He has spent parts of four seasons with the Dodgers, clubbing 20 homers and recording 43 RBI in 112 games. In six minor league seasons with the Dodgers, he hit a combined .291 with 104 homers and 365 RBI. He was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2015 First Year Player Draft out of Florida International University.

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