Cody Bellinger is perhaps the biggest name in terms of position players hitting free agency this offseason. After all, he won NL Rookie of the Year and NL MVP back in his earlier days with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2023, he had a big bounce back season with the Chicago Cubs in which he posted a career-best .307 average, along with 95 runs scored, 26 home runs, 97 RBI and 20 stolen bases.
As a former Gold Glove recipient in 2019, Bellinger can also provide solid defence in the outfield to complement his offensive output and speed on the basepaths. With the departure of Kevin Kiermaier to free agency, Bellinger appears to be the ideal replacement in centre field for the Jays. More importantly, with the Jays’ focus on injecting more offence into their lineup for the upcoming season, he would fit the bill perfectly.
If multiple teams start driving his price tag up as the pursuit intensifies, the Jays should proceed with caution. They must keep in mind that prior to the 2023 season, Bellinger actually struggled mightily in his previous three seasons with the Dodgers, including a horrendous season in 2021 when he hit only .165 with a .542 OPS. If his regression seen in those three seasons is a more true indicator of how he will perform, with the 2023 season being an outlier, the Jays should be weary of giving him an overblown contract. Otherwise, it could end up blowing up in their faces and set them back quite a bit in the coming years.