The Los Angeles Dodgers snuck in a high-profile deal prior to baseball's Dec. 1 lockout.
According to ESPN and other reports, the Dodgers and former National League MVP Cody Bellinger reached a one-year, $17 million deal prior to the transaction freeze initiated by the lockout. The deal fends off arbitration and was previously unreported until Thursday. It provides a pay raise over Bellinger's $16.1 million salary in 2021.
Bellinger, 26, had the worst season of his five-year MLB career in 2021, slashing .165/.240/.302 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI in 95 games. It marked a dramatic decline from his 2019 MVP campaign that saw him slash .305/.406/.629 while tallying 47 home runs and 115 RBI.
He flashed his former form in the postseason, slashing .353/.436/.471 with one home run and seven RBI in 12 games before the Dodgers were eliminated by the World Series champion Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. His return ensures that the Dodgers will retain a key player in an offseason that has seen them lose Corey Seager and Max Scherzer via free agency and decline to extend Clayton Kershaw a qualifying offer.