The 2019 NL MVP has been non-tendered by the Dodgers. Cody Bellinger is officially a free agent and even with a need in the outfield, the Los Angeles Angels should not pursue him.
Bellinger's decline from the highest of highs in 2019 to this point now where he's non-tendered is something unforseen. He went from one of the best players in the game to someone who will only get a starting job because of his past.
The Angels should not try to sign Cody Bellinger.
Cody Bellinger burst onto the scene in 2017 and won Rookie of the Year after hitting 39 home runs. He was an all-star and finished ninth in the NL MVP voting as a rookie.
He wasn't quite as good in 2018 but still managed to hit 25 home runs with a 120 OPS+.
His MVP year of 2019 saw him hit .305 with 47 home runs and 115 RBI. He stole 15 bases and won a Gold Glove as well. He was turning into one of the more well-rounded players in the game.
Bellinger started to struggle in the shortened 2020 season but he still managed to have a 112 OPS+ with 12 home runs in 56 games.
After 2020, things really took a turn. He's slashed .193/.256/.355 with 29 home runs and 104 RBI since the start of the 2021 campaign. He has just a 64 OPS+ during that span.
Bellinger is still an elite defender, ranking in the 92nd percentile in outs above average according to baseball savant, but his bat makes him very hard to play.
The Angels need a left fielder and Bellinger would probably be an upgrade over Jo Adell, but the Angels really can do better. With this being the final year having Shohei Ohtain under team control, they need to get a bat they know will produce. As much as I'd like to hope Bellinger can rediscover his MVP swing, I just can't see it happening.
His strikeout rate has ballooned over 10% from his MVP year while his walk rate has dipped over 8%. He's not hitting the ball as hard as he did when he does make contact.
Bellinger's best asset right now is his glove, and the Angels already have a center fielder. His glove would be great in either corner as well, but center field is where defense is needed the most and the Angels have one already. The fit just isn't there unless he wanted to be a fourth outfielder which I can't imagine happening.