Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger has experienced a winding journey through the major leagues. From winning National League MVP in 2019 and winning a World Series to being non-tendered, Bellinger has already experienced plenty of ups-and-downs.
When the Dodgers cut ties with him this past season, the former NLCS MVP received multiple offers from teams who were hoping to buy low on him with multi-year contracts. Instead, Bellinger signed a one-year deal with Chicago. Months later, that decision could pay off quite nicely.
- Cody Bellinger stats (2023): .319/.365/.546, 22 home runs, 19 steals, 142 wRC+, .911 OPS
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Cubs, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres are reportedly planning to be the “most aggressive suitors” for Bellinger this winter in free agency.
The 2019 NL MVP and a two-time All-Star selection, Bellinger has fit in perfectly with the Cubs. Signed to a one-year contract, the veteran outfielder and first baseman is one of only eight qualified MLB players with a .900-plus OPS during the regular season.
Bellinger has been outstanding for the majority of the season. While he slashed .237/.284/.301 with a .585 OPS in 23 games from May 1 – June 30, he’s been excellent ever since. Across his last 217 at-bats, a 56-game sample, Bellinger holds a 1.023 OPS with a .364/.397/.627 slash line and hit 15 home runs with 59 RBI.
Meanwhile, he’s still providing added value defensively. Between 39 games at first base and 633 innings played in center field, Bellinger ranks in the 93rd percentile for outfielder range and he’s credited with 2 Defensive Runs Saved this season.
The original contract he signed with Chicago included a 2024 mutual option with a $5.5 million buyout. With suitors already lining up for him and his prove-it deal paying off, Bellinger will decline the option and become a top free agent this winter.
Considering how bad the Yankees and Giants’ lineups have been this year, especially in the last two months, New York and San Francisco could offer Bellinger more money than San Diego or Chicago. However, re-signing with the Cubs after a great season or heading to San Diego remain viable possibilities.