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Why Cody Bellinger is perfect fit for Yankees

ClutchPoints logo: MainLogo ClutchPoints 11/25/2022 Owen Crisafulli
11/25/22 © Provided by ClutchPoints 11/25/22

The Los Angeles Dodgers had a tough decision to make in regards to their former MVP outfielder Cody Bellinger. Bellinger has shown the potential to be one of the top players in the MLB when he’s on, but he’s struggled mightily over the past three seasons. The Dodgers decided they had bigger fish to fry this offseason, and opted to not tender Bellinger a new contract, making him a free agent.

With that, Bellinger quickly became a free agent, and many teams were showing interest in the former Dodgers outfielder. One such team was the New York Yankees, who obviously will be more focused on keeping Aaron Judge around in their outfield, but will also need to get him some help in the outfield if he does return.

Right now, Bellinger is a wild card. He’s obviously proven he has what it takes to be one of the best players in the game, but whether or not he can reach those heights again remains to be seen. But as free agency activity continues to pick up, it’s becoming clear that, while Bellinger could be a good fit on several teams, the Yankees are the perfect fit for Bellinger to try to revive his career.

Cody Bellinger and the Yankees are a match made in heaven

To understand why Bellinger is such a sought-after player in free agency, it’s because of what he managed to do to begin his career. Bellinger smacked 39 home runs as a rookie back in 2017 to win the National League Rookie of the Year, and then managed to one-up himself in 2019 when he put together a monster campaign (.305 BA, 47 HR, 115 RBI, 15 SB, 1.035 OPS) that won him the NL MVP award.

Ever since then, though, Bellinger has looked like a shell of himself. His batting average fell over 65 points from 2019 to the shortened 2020 season, and then fell another 65 points from 2020 to 2021, which saw him hit just .165 over 315 at-bats. Bellinger was a bit better this season, but that doesn’t say much considering he hit just .210 with 19 home runs.

Now Bellinger is at a crossroads in his career. He’s struggled mightily for three seasons after taking the league by storm in his first three seasons in the MLB. The Dodgers appear to have given up on him, but that doesn’t mean that every team in the league shares the same sentiment, and the Yankees may be the perfect spot for him to figure things out.

By now, we all know that Judge is coming off one of the greatest seasons of hitting the MLB has ever seen. But the production alongside him in the outfield was horrible. Aaron Hicks hit just .216 over 130 games, and Joey Gallo was hitting .156 before he was mercifully moved to the Dodgers at the trade deadline. Andrew Benintendi was brought in at the trade deadline to solve the issue, but he played in 33 games due to a wrist injury and is now a free agent.

It’s clear that New York’s outfield needs some help, but is a guy like Bellinger who has been in a three-season slump the guy to fix things? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. But it’s clear that he can’t be much worse than what the Yankees had in their outfield last season, which is a good reason for them to pursue him right off the bat.

A big reason why the Yankees make so much sense for Bellinger is because Yankee Stadium is the perfect spot for powerful left-handed hitters to hit home runs. The short porch in right field, which is only 314 feet from home plate to the foul pole, is a great place to play 81 games a season if you are a left-handed hitter looking to hit home runs. It would be the perfect place for Bellinger to figure things out.

New York also has starting spots in their outfield with Bellinger’s name written all over it. Some teams may be looking to add Bellinger in a bench capacity due to the risk that comes with signing him, but it’s become clear right off the bat that Bellinger will have a starting job waiting for him, regardless of where he signs this offseason, and that’s something the Yanks can clearly offer to the slugging outfielder.

The Yankees need to add some more consistent hitters to their lineup, and while Bellinger isn’t exactly a consistent hitter nowadays, his ceiling is higher than any other free agent on the market. He’s only 27 years old, and playing alongside Judge (if he were to re-sign) could be just what Bellinger needs. Bellinger is a risky free agent target, but if there’s a place that is tailor-made for him to succeed, it’s the New York Yankees.

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Nish Patel

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