The Chicago Cubs have been very quiet this offseason, but is there still a chance that the team could bring back a slugger who endeared himself to fans in 2023?
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the answer to that question is yes, but with a caveat.
In a new report, Nightengale says that the Cubs are “still in the hunt” to re-sign outfielder Cody Bellinger in free agency, but that the favorites to land his services are the Toronto Blue Jays.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
The Blue Jays, like the Cubs, struck out on adding Shohei Ohtani to their roster in free agency, and are now looking to pivot as they seek out Bellinger’s skills following a resurgent 2023 season.
Bellinger won NL Comeback Player of the Year honors with the Cubs after finishing in the top-10 in batting average during the 2023 season. He slugged 26 home runs and drove in 97 RBI’s while posting an OPS of .881 for the North Siders.
His versatility and ability to play both center field and first base were highly valued by the Cubs, and they make him arguably the top available bat left on the free agent market after Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The question has been not just of price, with Scott Boras representing Bellinger, but also one of potential regression, as underlying metrics disagree on whether the slugger can continue to thrive after his 2023 season.
While Bellinger was the NL MVP in 2019, he struggled badly in the three years that followed, including a paltry .210 batting average with 19 home runs and 150 strikeouts during the 2022 season.