The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a representative in the MLB Home Run Derby the last five seasons. Now – if they’re going to continue that streak – someone other than Cody Bellinger will need to carry on the tradition.

On Monday, Bellinger told Jose Castillo that he doesn’t plan on participating in the competition this year. This year’s Home Run Derby will take place on July 8 in Cleveland at Progressive Field.

While some may be disappointed at this news, it wasn’t all bad. Bellinger left the door open for the possibility to do the competition in 2020. Of course, that Home Run Derby will take place at Dodger Stadium.

Bellinger took part in the 2017 derby, losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Aaron Judge by one home run. Currently he is third in the NL in home runs with 25.

Analysis

Early on, I have seen just as many fans happy to see Bellinger sit this out as I have disappointed. Moreover, the child in me wanted to see Bellinger go out and do this contest. Baseball added the ‘small’ incentive of a million dollars to the winner. Plus, what is a home run hitting contest these days without Cody Bellinger?

However, I am willing to see that the decision comes with some maturity on Bellinger’s part. He’s in the midst of a long season, and his eyes are on greater prizes. Of course, one of those could be a Triple Crown. The other could be a possible World Series ring. I’m okay with letting Christian Yelich and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. battle out an exhibition in Cleveland while Bellinger hands them a Gatorade bottle. And it gives me a possible excuse to fly to Los Angeles in 2020 when he announces he’s in.

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