Former NL MVP Cody Bellinger lands with the Chicago Cubs in MLB free agency

The National League MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2019, Cody Bellinger was a surprise non-tender earlier this fall.

Bellinger, 27, had fallen on hard times at the plate since undergoing shoulder surgery back in November of 2020. But the kid is still in his prime and offers a nice amount of upside.

The Chicago Cubs seem to agree. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Bellinger has landed in the Windy City on a one-year deal worth $17.5 million.

It was noted by Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, immediately after the Dodgers’ non-tender decision that he was seeking a one-year contract. Interestingly enough, the $17.5 million Bellinger is set to earn with Chicago is about the same amount that he would’ve made if the Dodgers had tendered the outfielder.

Related: Updated MLB offseason rumors

What Cody Bellinger to the Chicago Cubs means

cody bellinger, chicago cubs
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In his third year in the majors back in 2019, Bellinger hit 47 home runs with 121 runs scored, 115 RBI and posted an outstanding .305/.406/.629 slash line and a 1.035 OPS. Even after cooling off a bit late in the year, the numbers were more than enough to win NL MVP.

There’s been major struggles on this front since.

  • Cody Bellinger stats (2020-22): .203 average, 41 HR, 134 RBI, .648 OPS

After bottoming out with a .165 average in 2021, Bellinger hit a mere .210 with a .654 OPS for the NL West champion Dodgers in 2022.

Chicago hopes that the previous pre-injury iteration of Bellinger pops up once the 2023 season comes calling. They are coming off an ugly 88-loss season.

The expectation here is that Bellinger will take over in center for the Cubs. That’s where he played primarily the past three seasons in Southern California. Though, he did play right earlier in his career and during that 2019 MVP campaign.

Last season saw the Cubs trot out Christopher Morel primarily at center. He hit just .235 with a .741 OPS while belting 16 homers in 113 games. Former Japanese sensation and the Cubs’ big-ticket free-agent signing last offseason, Seiya Suzuki seems to be entrenched in at right field for now.

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