While Bellinger has been mostly broken offensively the last couple of years, largely due to injuries, he is still an elite defensive center fielder and the Cubs were one of the worst teams in baseball in center field defense the last couple of years.
Now, they’ll be trying Bellinger there, at least for 2023:
Outfielder Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs are in agreement on a one-year, $17.5 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2022
This is an excellent deal. The Cubs got Bellinger for about $2 million less than this year’s MLB qualifying offer level of $19.65 million and about $1 million less than he was projected to get via arbitration.
What the Cubs get is a chance for a 27-year-old outfielder to recover the hitting form that won him the NL Rookie of the Year in 2017 and the NL MVP award in 2019.
What Bellinger gets is a decent “pillow contract” that lets him try to rebuild his value, then hit the free-agent market again after 2023 — by which time the Cubs might have a center field prospect ready in Pete Crow-Armstrong or Brennen Davis.
This is a win-win, in my view. I’m very happy about this signing.
We will, of course, have more on Cody Bellinger in the coming days.
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