The Houston Astros should take a flier on Cody Bellinger
You're joking me...HIM?
Yes, him. The Houston Astros should sign Cody Bellinger to a one-year deal this offseason, bad blood and all. Rumors have floated about the Astros showing interest in the 2019 NL MVP. And who can blame them?
From 2017-2020, Bellinger hit .273 with 123 home runs and 318 RBI en route to posting a .911 OPS. In the two seasons since, his offense has totally bottomed out, hitting .193 with a .611 OPS, well below league average.
While it is fun to point out his offensive slide has directly coincided with the crackdown on sign-stealing, it has also coincided with a couple of injury-riddled seasons. All the while, he's remained an elite defender, saving 36 runs in his career and finishing last season in the 92nd percentile in outs above average.
The Astros are known for landing players with versatility. Marwin Gonzalez was a super utility man before Aledmys Diaz stepped into the role. David Hensley also played all over the field during his time in the minors. Bellinger's ability to play elite defense in the outfield and at 1B fits in perfectly with Houston's MO.
If he never became even more than an average bat again, he would allow them to spell off-days for Abreu, McCormick, Yordan and Tucker. But if his bat does return...
Part of what has made the Astros "The Astros" is their culture and chemistry. Only three players from the 2017 team remain under contract, but all are leaders and are dying to win. Can we not easily seeing them welcome Bellinger into the organization, the baseball ops department fixing his swing as just the latest in a long line of Astros' reclamation projects, and then sending him back to free agency after winning another World Series?
Houston has become the machine by ignoring feelings and sentimentality. Did Bellinger run his mouth and say ignorant things? Yes. Can he also help this baseball team win a third ring? Yes.
Worst case, he's an elite defensive sub and a far better option on the field than Mauricio Dubon. But if he regains form and gets back to the hitter he was the first four years of his career, he legitimately elevates this lineup back to a historic level.
Set the feelings aside. Sign Bellinger to a one-year deal. Win another ring. Then tell him not to let the door hit him on the way back out...