MLB

Dodgers OF Cody Bellinger breaks Kris Bryant's first-year arbitration record

Dodgers OF Cody Bellinger breaks Kris Bryant's first-year arbitration record

Much like Cubs All-Star third baseman Kris Bryant—who won NL Rookie of the Year in 2015 and NL MVP in 2016—Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger had an especially excellent start to his MLB career. Bellinger won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2017, NLCS MVP in 2018, and NL MVP in 2019. But winning an MVP award within the first three seasons of their career is not the only thing Bellinger shares with Bryant. He now shares the distinction of being among the group of highest-paid first-year arbitration players in MLB history. 

Los Angeles Times writer Mike DiGiovanna reported that Bellinger avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal that will pay him $11.5-million, which breaks Bryant's previous record of $10.85-million from 2018. Last season Bellinger batted .305 with an awesome 1.035 OPS. He also slugged 47 home runs, easily eclipsing his previous career-high of 39. 

Like Bellinger, Bryant also avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing to a reported one-year, $18.6 million deal. 

White Sox reportedly interested in right fielder Yasiel Puig

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly interested in right fielder Yasiel Puig

According to a report from MLB Network Insider Mark Feinsand, the White Sox are still looking for outfield help even after the addition of right fielder Nomar Mazara. 

Feinsand specifically mentions Cuban slugger Yasiel Puig as the top target of the White Sox. Last season Puig played a total of 149 games with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, batting .267 with a .785 OPS and 24 home runs. The 24 homers were the second-best mark of Puig's career. 

Puig would add another intriguing bat to the mix and help the White Sox fill out what appears to be a likely platoon situation in right field.

It would be interesting to see if Puig is open to a platoon situation seeing as he is 29 years old and should theoretically be entering his prime. But the White Sox could be looking at Puig as their potential everyday right fielder. The unproven Mazara is 24 years old and will be under team control for two more seasons, which could lead to a short-term deal for Puig if the White Sox are indeed making moves on that front. 

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White Sox still connected to top free-agent pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu

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USA TODAY

White Sox still connected to top free-agent pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu

Though the White Sox did not bring home any of the headliners from the current MLB free-agent class—many of whom they weren't realistically signing for a myriad of reasons anyway, players like Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon—they made some major moves that set them up quite well to build momentum as they continue to put what will hopefully be the finishing touches of a rebuild. The South Siders signed Yasmani Grandal to the richest contract in team history, swung a trade for high-upside, left-handed hitter Nomar Mazara, and most recently added some much-needed pitching depth with the addition of Gio Gonzalez. But for White Sox fans fearing that the organization was done adding talent, it appears they may not be done just yet. 

Even after signing Gio Gonzalez, new MLB rumors have linked the White Sox to two Scott Boras clients, pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Boras has been on-the-go lately, flying around the country to be in-person to support his clients at their introductory press conferences but he hasn't forgotten about the plethora of teams in need of rotation help, like the White Sox

Last season the 32-year old Ryu started 29 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA and a career-best 5.1 WAR.

Dallas Keuchel was a free agent last season after being with the Houston Astros since 2012 and eventually was signed late into the season—after compensation requirements connected to the Astros' qualifying offer dissolved— by the Atlanta Braves. Over 19 starts the 31-year Keuchel went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA and a 2.1 WAR.

If the White Sox add either of the two top pitching names left on the market in Ryu or Keuchel, they will join an already promising rotation that includes the aforementioned Gonzalez, high-upside youngsters Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease, and All-Star Lucas Giolito. 

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