Friday, April 19, 2024

You’re Never Going to Guess Who the Favorite is to Sign Cody Bellinger

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Cody Bellinger’s final game for the Chicago Cubs last season was on Sept. 30, and he officially became a free agent on Nov. 3, when he declined a $25 million player option to hit the open market. The Cubs were preoccupied trying to court Shohei Ohtani in December, but since then I can confidently say that they’ve been seen as the favorite to sign Bellinger. There’s a new Bellinger update and you’re never going to guess who the favorite is to sign him.

Oh wait, actually it’s still the Cubs. This time it’s MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, who provided an update, if you can really call it that. Seems like everyone in the game knows the Cubs and Bellinger are the ideal fit for each other this offseason. However, everyone also seems to acknowledge that the gap in asking price from Bellinger and what the Cubs are willing to offer is still significant enough that little progress has been made during their talks.

You know it, I know it, this continues to be a staring contest between Jed Hoyer and Bellinger’s agent Scott Boras. Neither side is blinking as of yet and it doesn’t really seem like either side is going to rush to a decision despite the start of spring training arriving in less than two weeks.

The Cubs aren’t the only team monitoring Bellinger’s status, as the San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels have also been seen as potential landing spots for the 2019 National League MVP. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners have also, at one point this offseason, been brought up as possible suitors.

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Yet, as is the case with the Cubs, every time you read about Bellinger’s free agency, you keep reading about teams not willing to fork over a big deal and cave into his huge asking price.

Here are all the latest rumors surrounding Bellinger prior to Morosi’s update on Monday. You’ll see a common theme.

This past weekend, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that Bellinger has not received a formal contract offer from any team so far this offseason.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand spoke to anonymous executives and guess what the consensus is among them?

Via MLB.com.

The Cubs signed Shōta Imanaga to replace Stroman in the rotation, but Chicago has yet to address the potential hole in the lineup that would be created should Bellinger sign elsewhere. Of course, the Cubs could simply bring Bellinger back, which most execs believe will be the ultimate outcome. 

Earlier in January, Feinsand had a similar report that also included several caveats on the interested teams. Sure, Bellinger has suitors, but not at his current price.

The Angels, Giants, Mets and Mariners all make sense as potential landing spots for Bellinger, but none of those clubs appear to be ready and/or willing to pay the asking price, which is believed to be north of $200 million.

Then there are the Cubs, who must still be viewed as favorites to bring Bellinger back to the North Side. Chicago hasn’t done anything to this point to replace his bat in the lineup, but with few teams making an aggressive push for Bellinger, the Cubs front office has shown great restraint, not wanting to bid against itself to get Bellinger signed.

Ultimately, the widespread belief within the industry is that Bellinger and the Cubs will reunite, but only if/when his asking price comes down.

So, why isn’t Bellinger close to signing yet? Well, at the start of the offseason there was a report that he was seeking a deal in the $300 million range. As you read above, teams aren’t even willing to go above the $200 million mark for Bellinger at this point.

I guess we’ll keep waiting because that’s all we can do. I’m sure there will be at least a few more “Cubs favorites to sign Bellinger” reports in the coming weeks. Cool. Just get it done, Jed.

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Brewzer
Jan 30, 2024 5:47 pm

Anyone who says the Mariners are a possibility immediately loses all credibility. Jerry DiPoto has never signed a MLB free agent hitter to a contract longer than one year guaranteed contract.

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