Cody Bellinger would be the ultimate Chaim Bloom makeover project, but Fenway Park may not be the most friendly confines for him to prove himself.
The 2017 National League Rookie of the Year and 2019 NL MVP is currently a free agent after being non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. Since his incredible MVP season, he’s struggled immensely and is now looking to revive his career before it’s too late. At 27 years old, this is a make-or-break offseason for him, not unlike how high the stakes are for the Boston Red Sox this winter.
By Boston’s low standards in 2022, Bellinger didn’t have too bad a year. His 19 home runs would’ve ranked second on the roster behind Rafael Devers, the only Sox player to exceed 20 homers this year.
Would Cody Bellinger hit better at Fenway Park? Not necessarily.
But would Bellinger hit well at Fenway? Not necessarily. It’s hard to pull for power there as a lefty, as evidenced by Statcast’s Park Factors chart. Had he been hitting at Fenway in 2022, his Expected Home Runs by Park were only nine, the lowest xHR for him at any of the 30 ballparks. It’s hard enough to find players who can perform well in Boston under the immense pressure, but if the ballpark already isn’t conducive to home-run hitting, any hopes of bringing Bellinger here might be dashed before they’ve even begun.
Regardless, it shouldn’t be hard for the Sox to get in touch with the struggling outfielder; if they’re working as hard on a deal with Xander Bogaerts as they claim to be, then they can pick up the phone and call Scott Boras, who also reps Bellinger. According to Boras, Bellinger is looking for a one-year deal to prove he can turn his career around. That’s exactly the kind of short-term move Bloom loves to make; Trevor Story is the only free agent he’s signed to a deal longer than two years. Rich Hill and Michael Wacha were both in Boston on single-season contracts. The Sox signed Kiké Hernández to a two-year deal ahead of the 2021 season and gave him a one-year extension earlier this fall.
If the Sox are interested in Bellinger, they have some competition close to home. According to several reports, the Toronto Blue Jays are interested in the former MVP and have reached out to his camp. The San Francisco Giants and New York Mets are also possible suitors.