Cody Bellinger is a free agent.

Cody Bellinger is, or at least was, a very good baseball player.

But you probably knew all that already.

You also probably know that the Colorado Rockies, while needing to get better in nearly every facet of the game, also have quite a few outfielders that they need to consider trading away for more pitching help.

So why in the world would they look at spending a presumably decent portion of a presumably limited budget on a player with a bunch of red flags who arguably doesn’t fill a positional need?

Of course, the natural tendency is to hope for a return to form. The 2019 NL MVP has proven himself to be among the most talented players in the game when at his best. But he hasn’t been at his best for at least two seasons.

He was one of the worst qualified hitters in 2021, batting .165/.240/.302 with 10 home runs while striking out almost 27 percent of the time. That accounted for a wRC+ of 47. 2022 was a bit better but still disappointing as he raised the wRC+ to 83 and hit 19 home runs.

Still, he has been well below the league average in terms of hitting for his last 239 games.

Now, at 27 years old, he should physically still have plenty of ability left in him meaning that any hopes to rejuvenate the bat are likely to come from a change in approach and/or mentality.

Perhaps a change of scenery, especially to a hitter-friendly environment, could bring out the best in him. And perhaps new Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens can help him rediscover or unlock that star talent that may still be hidden deep within him.

However, quite frankly, the Colorado baseball club should be hot on the heels of this free agent even if they can’t manage to turn the bat around.

Throughout his entire career, Bellinger’s bat has overshadowed the rest of his game, and fair enough. But it should be noted that as much as he scuffled at the plate last year, he still managed to put up a 2.0 WAR thanks largely to his defense. He also remains a fantastic base runner, swiping 14 bags despite not getting on base too often.

For comparison, the Rockies primary CF last year, Yonathan Daza, posted a 0.7 WAR despite his good contact skills.

It feels weird to bring in a slugger with hopes to stabilizing your defense, but Bellinger might just fit in the perfect Goldilocks Zone for the Rockies who need more power potential but can’t afford to be terrible defensively with the massive outfield at Coors.

This is part of the reason why the name Brandon Nimmo has been floating around at 20th and Blake. But Nimmo, coming off a career best season, is likely to cost quite a bit and get a multi-year contract. Thanks to his struggles, Bellinger should be far more affordable and may even be inclined to take a one-year deal in order to prove that he still has it and try to win a big contract while he is still in his prime.

And what better place to go to put up some eye-popping numbers than Denver, Colorado?

If the Rox could entice him with an incentive-laden deal and lure him out here, the worst-case scenario appears to be that they will end up with a tremendous center fielder who pitchers still have to fear a bit.

He won’t derail your budget the way a signing of the oft-injured Nimmo might and even if the bat never recovers you can still get some quality production out of him.

Naturally, the best-case scenario is obvious. He comes out, he rakes, and suddenly the Rockies have added a much-needed star-level bat to their lineup.

If they can get him at a reasonable price that allows them to continue to address their pitching woes, Colorado should pursue Cody Bellinger not solely in hopes that he returns to being an MVP caliber player but in recognition that even at his worst he could still fill an extremely valuable role for the team.