It's been radio silence from Cubs free agent Cody Bellinger in a gradually moving MLB free agency this winter.
The offseason's predominant thinking centered around the timing of Shohei Ohtani's deal. Once his deal comes, the rest will fall like dominoes. But that hasn't been the case for everyone, including Cody Bellinger.
So, where do things stand with Bellinger and his pending free agency? Here's everything we know thus far.
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Cubs are the favorites
Bellinger's market has undeniably shrunk (go to the next point for more). And the Cubs haven't made any major splashes outside of a reasonably priced Shōta Imanaga contract worth $53 million over four years.
Other than the Japanese starter, the Cubs haven't made any splashes in free agency. That being said, they've been attached to several names. Bob Nightengale dared to speculate the Cubs would be one of the most "aggressive" teams this offseason in free agency.
That being said, the Cubs are the easy favorite to re-sign Bellinger this offseason, according to another insider.
"I think the favorite right now has to be the Cubs," Jon Heyman said in late December on a Bleacher Report livestream. "We're gonna rule out the Yankees. The [Blue] Jays have done some stuff, so you know. I still think they could do it, possibly. I still think the Giants could do it, possibly. He could help a number of teams. He could help Seattle [Mariners], he could help the [Los Angeles] Angels, he could help the [New York] Mets."
As mentioned previously, Bellinger's market has thinned as other teams continue to sign big names.
For example, the New York Yankees --- once thought of as 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, locking 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 signing Bellinger have dropped.
What about the San Francisco Giants? They signed Korean sensation Jung Hoo Lee. 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.
Bellinger listening to all offers
Bellinger's agent, Scott Boras, plays a major factor in his signing. Boras is known for stubborn negotiation. And after a spectacular comeback season that saw Bellinger win NL Comeback Player of the Year, he'll certainly be fishing for a lucrative, long-term deal.
Bellinger's speculative wishes, plus his agent, equals a longgggg free agency.
Boras told the media during MLB Winter Meetings that Bellinger is open to all offers.
"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.
Jed Hoyer's thoughts
Following the Cubs missing the playoffs, team President Jed Hoyer met with the media to discuss the offseason.
Of course, Bellinger's free agency was a hot topic of conversation.
“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.”
Bellinger rejuvenated his career on the North Side. He earned a Silver Slugger award thanks to a .307/.356/.525 slash line plus 26 home runs and 97 RBIs. He also finished 10th in NL MVP voting at the end of the season.
But, there's always a chance Bellinger finds a new home. If that happens, the Cubs will have to operate past him.
“The contributions he made will have to be replaced,” Hoyer said. “We’d love to bring him back, but in a world where that’s uncertain, we would have to figure out how to replace that offense.”
The Cubs have been tied to several big names, including Rhys Hoskins, Matt Chapman and pitcher Jordan Montgomery.