Top NewsCubs to re-sign Cody Bellinger

Cubs to re-sign Cody Bellinger

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One of the best hitters in free agency reached an overnight deal as a center fielder Cody Bellinger A three-year deal with the Cubs for an $80MM deal ESPN's Jeff Basson. Per Bassan, the deal includes opt-outs following the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Passan adds that the deal is slightly more up front, with Bellinger making $30MM in 2024 and $20MM in 2026 with $30MM in 2025.

Bellinger returns to the Cubs after signing a one-year deal with the club last winter and delivering a breakout campaign. In 556 trips to the plate, the 28-year-old hit .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 20 stolen bases, splitting time between center field and first base for Chicago. That performance earned Bellinger the Silver Slugger Award and a top-10 finish in NL MVP voting, and he was poised to cash in with a big contract this winter. MLBTR ranked Bellinger as the #2 free agent in this year's class behind the two-way superstar Shohei OhtaniA 12-year, $264MM deal for the outfielder on our annual Top 50 MLB Free Agents list.

That prediction landed well where Bellinger signed. While Bellinger entered the winter with numerous big-market clubs in the running for his services, including the Giants, Yankees and Blue Jays, each spun in opposite directions throughout December: San Francisco landed the KBO star; Jung Hoo Lee to the Patrol Center, Juan Soto The Bronx were sent to fill a left-handed void in their outfield mix, and after the Blue Jays missed out on Shohei Ohtani, they changed course to focus on smaller deals for players. Kevin Kiermaier And Isiah Kiner-Falefa. That left Bellinger with few clear fits outside of the current Cubs, though as his free agency continued into spring training, his camp held out for a long-term deal, while the Cubs and president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer remained steadfast in their patience. In the end, Chicago was rewarded for its patience, as the club would retain Bellinger's services through at least the 2024 campaign in a relatively inexpensive three-year, $105MM deal with client Boras Corporation. Carlos Correa Signed with the Twins two seasons ago.

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Several factors beyond his relatively small number of suitors may have contributed to Bellinger's choice of a short-term contract. As good as he was in 2023, the slugger struggled badly in the 2021 and '22 seasons while battling shoulder issues and a fractured fibula. He hit a measly .193/.256/.355 in that span, even though he pitched for 900 plate appearances in both seasons. That 2021 season earned him Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in 2017 and 2019.

A lot more to come…

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