Cody Bellinger to Cubs Is ‘Next Logical Move’

We’ve already covered this concept more than once, but the Cubs’ abject lack of activity has forced us to turn this place into Pre-Chew Charlie’s. As one of only four teams with zero free agent spending and the only team with no MLB additions of any kind, Jed Hoyer still has several moves to make. And with other teams filling their outfield needs, it’s becoming evident that Cody Bellinger isn’t going to land the kind of megadeal he may have been seeking at the start of the offseason.

Even getting $200 million seems to be out of the question at this point, so this particular boomerang could come back around to Chicago if and when the Scott Boras Winter thaws. Speaking with MLB Network’s Lauren Shehadi on Tuesday morning, Jon Morosi laid out some familiar logic.

“To me, that is the next logical move,” Morosi said. “Bellinger, all the options that exist for him right now…you could argue that Bellinger to the Blue Jays still makes some sense. I tend to think that Bellinger back to Chicago makes the most sense of all. If you are a Cubs fan hoping for the offseason to move in a certain way where the Giants got (Jung Hoo) Lee, the Yankees got (Juan) Soto, the Jays brought back (Kevin) Kiermaier, all of these data points would suggest that Bellinger back to the Cubs has a lot of legs.

“So I believe in the early days of 2024, that is still the most likely destination for Cody Bellinger.”

This certainly comes across more as speculation than definitive intel, but if there’s one thing we know about Morosi it’s that his record of reporting on Blue Jays-related deals is impeccable. Okay, that was a little harsh. Everything he’s saying here tracks, though, so there’s really just one big hurdle to clear.

That would be Boras, who represents Bellinger and a host of the other top remaining free agents of this class. While the Cubs have obviously dealt with Boras in the past, the club’s desire to avoid long-term commitments directly conflicts with the agent’s goals for his clients. The Cubs like to wait out the market to find value, Boras likes to wait it out to make teams sweat.

I’ve mentioned previously that Dasnby Swanson’s seven-year, $177 million deal might be Hoyer’s template here, but I think Boras is going to want at least $5 million more. That would get Bellinger to the same guarantee Kris Bryant, who you surely already know shares the same rep, got from the Rockies last year. Even though the Cubs are allergic to anything longer than seven years, pushing to eight at around $190 million would give Bellinger the largest contract in franchise history while keeping the AAV under $24 million.

If that sounds like something Boras wouldn’t be too keen on, consider that he negotiated the deal between Bryce Harper and the Phillies that lowered the AAV well below what was expected. The bigger concerns were duration and total value, so Bellinger might well be amenable to a deal structured like the one above. Hoyer could sweeten the pot with an opt-out or two and a no-trade clause, value-adds he’s been willing to include in several recent deals.

Now it’s just a matter of seeing whether and when the two sides can come together on a number that makes sense. Even if the Cubs do bring Bellinger back, they’ve still got a lot of work to do when it comes to shoring up the roster. Guess that’s why they added another pitcher on (presumably) a minor-league deal.

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