Any day now, Mr. Bellinger.
Cody Bellinger remains a free agent this offseason with the Cubs earmarked a favorite to land their most recent center fielder. And with Rhys Hoskins --- a name that was firmly attached to the Cubs from multiple reports --- off the market to the Brewers, the Cubs have more urgency to bring back Bellinger.
One MLB insider recently updated Bellinger's free agency, confirming the Cubs are considered the leading favorites.
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"Cubs need to make a move ... I do believe, at this point, that is the likelihood (re-signing Bellinger)," Jon Heyman said on a Bleacher Report live stream. "Not saying it's a guarantee in any way. I'll just say I would think they're probably the favorites at this moment."
Recently, MLB's Mark Feinsand reported one roadblock standing in the way of a Cubs-Bellinger reunion: his asking price. Paired with agent Scott Boras and coming off of an NL Comeback Player of the Year season, Bellinger will inarguably ask for a pay raise on his next contract.
But, according to Feinsand, the Cubs are standing strong, awaiting Bellinger and Boras to lower their price. Feinsand reported Bellinger's asking price is believed to be north of $200 million for his next contract.
"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.
The free agent market has drastically shifted, however, since the market opened for Bellinger this offseason. There are seemingly fewer suitors for Bellinger than he began with, simply because several teams moved on to other free agents.
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 and Heyman both report 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.
Heyman reports there are teams still in the mix, but the Cubs are ultimately the outright favorites.
"I still could see, potentially, Toronto, who's also in the DH market," Heyman said. "I could see San Francisco potentially. Seattle, not so sure if they're gonna want to spend that money. I do think that Bellinger makes sense to go back to the Cubs."
Unless the Blue Jays or Giants are willing to pony up Bellinger's asking price for DH services, it's all but likely he'll return to the Cubs. The Cubs have yet to solidify a permanent first baseman or center fielder, without making any assumptions about Pete Crow-Armstrong's usage in 2024.
Outside of the Cubs' groundbreaking move to bring in Craig Counsell and sign Shota Imanaga, it's been a quiet offseason for the North Side. Returning Bellinger to the team feels like a no-brainer at this point for the Cubs. It appears to be a matter of timing and negotiating for both sides.