As MLB free agency pushes forward --- at the speed of molasses --- Cubs fans await the day, hopefully, Cody Bellinger re-signs with the North Side.
The Cubs are believed to be the favorites to land the NL Comeback Player of the Year, according to several reports. But one barrier stands in the way of the reunion.
"Ultimately, the widespread belief within the industry is that Bellinger and the Cubs will reunite, but only if/when his asking price comes down," MLB's Mark Feinsand recently wrote.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Bellinger's price, according to Feinsand's report, is believed to be north of $200 million. And Bellinger's agent, Scott Boras, is a patented negotiator, known for his stubbornness and high asking prices.
"Our platform is Cody’s let us know that he’s listening to everyone involved, and there are no exclusions," Boras said in early December at the MLB Winter Meetings.
The Cubs have plenty of room to be rigid with Bellinger's asking price. Several teams have seemingly made other moves to address similar needs Bellinger would provide them.
For example, the New York Yankees, once considered a suitor for Bellinger, solidified their outfield by trading for Juan Soto. They also have Anthony Rizzo at first base, lowering their odds of signing Bellinger.
The Toronto Blue Jays signed Kevin Kiermaier to lock up their outfield. They now have Kiermaier, George Springer and Daulton Varsho in the outfield. And with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base, the Blue Jays' odds of pursuing Bellinger have dropped. But Feinsand says the move for Kiermaier doesn't necessarily preclude them from signing Bellinger.
The San Francisco Giants signed Korean sensation Jung Hoo Lee this offseason, too. And with Luis Matos and Michael Conforto in the outfield, along with Lamonte Wade Jr. at first base, it doesn't feel Bellinger will end up there, either.
From the Cubs' perspective, they certainly have an eye on Bellinger, as he would help fill the gaps for left-handed hitting, power bats and playing in the outfield or first base. Jed Hoyer surely will be in contact with Bellinger's representation.
The question is --- will they get a deal done to bring Bellinger back to the North Side?
“We sat down with him on Sunday. We’ve had a really good dialogue,” Hoyer said in early October. “He loves Wrigley Field, and the fans, and I think his experience was fantastic. We’d love to bring him back.
“We’ll have a lot of conversations with him. It’s going to be a process. It’s going to play out for a while. I think the world of Cody, and we’re certainly going to be in communication.”