Should Cody Bellinger be an option for St. Louis?

Former National League Most Valuable Player became a free agent

The St. Louis Cardinals were among the teams that had to make tough decisions regarding arbitration-eligible players last week, deciding not to field former bidder Alex Reyes in the process. The Los Angeles Dodgers decided not to bid another former National League All-Star and former MVP as well as in Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger, 27, is a two-time All-Star quarterback and won the National League Most Valuable Player in 2019 after hitting .305/.406/.629 with 47 HR and 115 RBI for the Dodgers. He has been a past Gold Glover as well and has a career OPS of .819. Why on earth could such a good player end up being unreleased by the Dodgers?

Bellinger started to struggle a bit during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but after suffering a bizarre shoulder injury in the NLCS, he wasn’t the same player. 542, and in 144 games in 2022, he batted 0.210/.265/.389 with 19 HR and 68 RBI in Los Angeles.

Why would the Cardinals care about a player who seems to be getting worse rather than better? There are no indications yet of their existence, but given the types of players they are targeting at the moment, there has been speculation that St. Louis could run Bellinger.

Cody Bellinger could be one of the left-handed bats they add to the roster

The speculation really stems from the Cardinals targeting a left-handed batter for their lineup, perhaps needing depth in center field, especially if they end up trading some of their outside options.

Let’s be clear, there is no way Bellinger should be Left main options that St. Louis is bringing in this off-season. That would be crazy, since they already have quite a few different players on their roster that they’re crossing their fingers. Honestly, even considering Bellinger a fourth player for the team seems a little far-fetched considering the kind of money he’s likely to get in the market.

However, with the club interested in Kevin Kiermayer, would Bellinger be that bad of an option? I do not think so. Sure, a change of scenery might be all he needs, but it likely won’t have the impact it once did. Can he bat at the bottom of your application and provide value defensively and on baselines? He sure can.

If you’re one of those calling on the Cardinals to go after Bellinger, I understand the thought process. But realistically, he doesn’t seem like a perfect fit for St. Louis, and they’d be better off chasing one of these left-bats in the off-season.

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