Officially Official: Cubs Announce Cody Bellinger Signing

The Cubs went nearly three full games without scoring a run in the time since Cody Bellinger‘s new deal was reported, but the curse was finally lifted in the 7th inning on Tuesday. That’s when Pete Crow-Armstrong, whose role will be heavily impacted by Bellinger’s return, laced a leadoff double to get things started. Though he was left stranded, the Cubs rallied for four in the 8th and two more in the 9th as PCA capped the scoring with another double.

If the kid keeps playing like this, the Cubs are going to have to find a spot for him in Chicago. Putting Bellinger back in the lineup and getting a big infusion of youth makes this team far more exciting, especially if last year’s team MVP can boost his power a bit. Much has been made about Bellinger’s concerning batted-ball data, something we’ve discussed here at length, though there’s reason to believe he’ll continue to outperform it.

Not only does the limited nature of his deal insulate the Cubs against age-related regression, but the versatile hitter’s approach last year was predicated heavily on shortening up with two strikes. That’s not the only reason for his low exit velo, mind you, though it is a factor. After three injury-plagued seasons, Bellinger went into 2023 just hoping to be healthy and perhaps a bit more flexible. Working with a personal trainer and trying Pilates for the first time helped him accomplish those goals.

Now that he’s got a little additional security and motivation to prove himself yet again, it’s reasonable to believe he might get a little more aggressive early in counts to drive the ball. I wouldn’t mind him sacrificing a few points of batting average in exchange for pop, especially since the team has a few question marks at all four corners.

This deal took a little time to consummate because the Cubs needed to make room on the roster, which they did Tuesday afternoon by trading lefty reliever Bailey Horn to the White Sox. The 40-man is now full again, though Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins aren’t done tweaking around the margins. For more on the re-addition of Bellinger, see the press release below.

The Chicago Cubs today have agreed to terms with outfielder Cody Bellinger on a three-year major league contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 40-man roster now stands at 40.

The Cubs will hold an introductory press conference Wednesday, February 28, at 12 p.m. local time at the Nike Performance Center (2510 W. Rio Salado Parkway).

Bellinger, 28, owns a .258 batting average (805-for-3,126) with 163 doubles, 20 triples, 178 home runs, 519 RBI and an .829 OPS in 875 major league games in seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2017-22) and Cubs (2023). The 2017 N.L. Rookie of the Year, the 2019 N.L. Most Valuable Player, a two-time N.L. All-Star (2017, 2019), a 2019 Gold Glove Award winner and a 2019 and 2023 Silver Slugger Award winner, Bellinger’s 178 home runs since the start of the 2017 campaign are sixth-most among left-handed hitters.

The six-foot four-inch Bellinger originally signed a one-year contract with the Cubs, December 14, 2022. During the 2023 season, Bellinger finished 10th in N.L. MVP voting after batting .307 (153-for-499) with 29 doubles, one triple, 26 home runs, 97 RBI, 20 stolen bases and an .881 OPS in 130 games. He joined Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman as the lone three players in the major leagues to record at least a .305 average, 25 home runs and 20 stolen bases last season.

In 2023, Bellinger led the Cubs in average, slugging percentage (.525), OPS, RBI and total bases (262), while he was tied for first in home runs. His batting average was the sixth-highest in the majors and his slugging percentage ranked ninth. The left-handed hitting outfielder’s 97 RBI were the most in a single season by a Cub since Javier Báez (111) and Anthony Rizzo (101) in 2018.

Bellinger was named the N.L. Player of the Month in July 2023 after he hit .400 (40-for-100) with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 26 games. Bellinger became the first Cub since Aramis Ramírez in 2005 to tally 55 RBI in a 53-game span from July 1-August 30. His 75 RBI from July 1 through the end of the season were the most in the major leagues.

During Bellinger’s 2017 N.L. Rookie of the Year campaign, his 39 home runs established a then-N.L. rookie record and were second-most in the league. His 17 game-winning RBI ranked fourth in the N.L., his .581 slugging percentage was fifth-highest and his .933 OPS ranked 10th. He finished ninth in the N.L. MVP vote at season’s end.

In 2019, Bellinger became the first player in Dodgers history to collect the N.L. MVP, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in the same season. He recorded the third-highest single-season home run total in Dodgers’ franchise history (47), while batting .305 (170-for-558) with 34 doubles, three triples, 115 RBI and 95 walks, contributing to a .406 on-base percentage and a 1.035 OPS.

Selected in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft by the Dodgers out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., Bellinger is the son of former major leaguer, Clay Bellinger. He played in the 2007 Little League World Series and is one of 14 major league players to play in both the Little League and the MLB World Series.

Back to top button