Over one-third of teams in Major League Baseball are reportedly expected to pursue former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger in free agency.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, 11 teams have expressed interest in Bellinger, including the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers decided to non-tender Bellinger last week rather than paying him a projected $19 million in arbitration.
The 27-year-old largely struggled the past three seasons on the heels of winning the National League MVP Award in 2019.
He set career highs across the board that season, slashing .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 121 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. He was also an All-Star and NL Rookie of the Year two years earlier when he hit .267 with 39 homers and 97 RBI.
Following his MVP campaign, Bellinger hit just .239 with 12 home runs and 30 RBI in 56 games during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He hit .165 with 10 homers and 36 RBI in 2021, and the center fielder hit .210 with 19 home runs and 68 RBI last season.
While it is possible that Bellinger will never come close to reaching his MVP level again, he could be an enticing reclamation project for a number of teams.
Bellinger possessed rare power from the left side of the plate, won a Gold Glove as a right fielder in 2019 and has a ton of playoff experience, playing in 69 postseason games and winning the 2020 World Series with the Dodgers.
That playoff experience would perhaps be especially enticing to the Astros, who go on deep postseason runs annually and are coming off a World Series win.
Also, with a strong lineup led by Alex Bregman, Jeremy Peña, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez, there wouldn't necessarily be much pressure on Bellinger to put up huge numbers.
Meanwhile, the Cubs and Giants both missed the playoffs last season, and Bellinger would possibly be viewed as more of a linchpin in their lineups.
Ultimately, teams that are interested in Bellinger are banking on his high ceiling and the possibility of a change of scenery helping him recapture some of the magic he had in his career.