Los Angeles Times sports writer Mike DiGiovanna first reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers have made a record deal with outfielder and first baseman, Cody Bellinger.
The deal gives Bellinger $11.5 million dollars for the 2020 MLB season, and Bellinger sets a new record for 1st-year arbitration eligible players. The new record eclipses the $10.85 million dollar deal set by Kris Bryant in January of 2018.
Bellinger made his MLB debut in 2017 with the Dodgers and did nothing less than garner 1st-year All-Star Game and Rookie of the Year accolades. The 2019 season was even better, with Bellinger winning the coveted NL MVP award, as he just edged the Milwaukee Brewers' Christian Yelich.
According to Baseball Reference, in 156 games for the Dodgers and 558 at-bats, Bellinger had an excellent slash line of .305/.406/.629, carried an OPS of 1.035, and had 170 hits, including 121 runs, 47 homers and 115 RBIs. Those are the kinds of numbers that lead to an MVP season.
Per MLB Trade Rumors, the Dodgers have also reportedly made deals with top players Corey Seager (for $7.6 million) and Enrique Hernandez (for $5.9 million). Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register reported that with utilityman Kiké Hernandez and pitchers Ross Stripling and Julio Urias, the Dodgers have made deals with five key players, with four more to go.
For the Dodgers, the Hot Stove season has been relatively quiet thus far. Now that the team has begun to deal with some of their top player contracts, it will be interesting to see what the remainder of the off-season holds for the team.