Cody Bellinger avoids arbitration, agrees to one-year, $16.1 million deal with Dodgers

Jorge Castillo, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES — Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers settled on a one-year, $16.1 million contract Friday to avoid arbitration, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The Dodgers entered Friday with the contracts for five arbitration-eligible players — Bellinger, Corey Seager, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías and Austin Barnes — still unresolved. The parties had until 10 a.m. PST to exchange arbitration figures if a settlement wasn’t reached. The team agreed to deals with relievers Dylan Floro ($975,000) and Corey Knebel ($5.25 million) on Thursday.

The deadline, however, is a soft one; the sides can still come to a resolution before a hearing happens. Hearings usually are scheduled for early February, but uncertainty surrounding the start of the season could affect the timeline.

Bellinger’s agreement comes a year after he reached an agreement for $11.5 million for the 2020 season — a record for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Bellinger, who was coming off an MVP season, ultimately made about $4.2 million in the pandemic-shortened, 60-game season.

The 25-year-old Bellinger was given a $4.6 million raise despite experiencing a dropoff in the truncated 2020 season. The center fielder batted .239 with 12 home runs and a .789 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 56 games. He hit just .212 in the postseason but supplied crucial hits and defensive plays in the Dodgers’ World Series run.


His catch in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, robbing Fernando Tatis Jr. of a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning, helped bury the San Diego Padres. Eleven days later, he blasted the go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, capping the Dodgers’ comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.

That home run came at a price: Bellinger dislocated his right shoulder bashing forearms with Kike Hernandez in celebration. He didn’t miss a game, but went just 3 for 22 in the World Series and underwent shoulder surgery in March. The Dodgers said he is expected to be ready for spring training.

Last winter, Bellinger qualified as a Super-2 player, a status given to the top 22% of players in service time between their second and third years of service. That designation gave Bellinger four years of arbitration eligibility, one more than the standard. He has two years remaining before becoming a free agent. Buehler qualified as a Super-2 player this year.

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