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Cody Bellinger watch: He’s still unsigned. What will it take to get him back in the Cubs fold?

Let’s throw some numbers around.

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Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images

The photo at the top of this post was chosen for a reason. Specifically, because it’s a photo of Cody Bellinger rounding the bases after a home run against the Cardinals last July... with the words CHICAGO CUBS prominently in view behind him.

That, of course, is where we want him to remain for the 2024 season, and hopefully beyond.

That was loudly in evidence at the Cubs Convention this past weekend, where chants of “CO-DY!” reverberated through many of the sessions, as chronicled here by Sara Sanchez yesterday. Even Cubs players got involved:

There’s been word that Dansby Swanson has been talking to Cubs executives about bringing Bellinger back. That sort of hint-dropping worked last summer, when Swanson helped lobby Jed Hoyer not to sell off at the trade deadline last July. Leadership from players can come in many forms and that’s one example. Cody Bellinger, too, showed leadership qualities in his one year (so far) in blue pinstripes. During Ryan Dempster’s “On The Mound” show Friday evening at CubsCon, it was stated of Bellinger: “He makes everyone around him better.”

I’ve written about Bellinger and possible contract proposals on this site here and here. We are getting to crunch time now. We stand just 39 days until the Cubs’ first Spring Training game (Friday, February 23 vs. the White Sox at Sloan Park) and though the team has not officially announced reporting dates yet, we’re probably about four weeks from those official dates.

It’s time to get Bellinger back in the fold. Some Cubs media are convinced he’s coming back:

In the most recent article I wrote with a contract proposal, here’s what I had:

Eight years, $220 million — with an opt-out after two years. That would give Bellinger an AAV of $27.5 million for 2024 and 2025, and if he has two monster years he could go back to free agency at age 30 (he turned 28 last July) and potentially make more money over the long term. Or, if the years aren’t so great — and of course, we’d hope they were at least good — he’d have six more years of financial security.

I still think something like that might work, and at least the Cubs would have two years worth of Bellinger guaranteed on the team that way.

But what about trying some sort of deferred-money deal like the one Shohei Ohtani got with the Dodgers? Give Bellinger a $200 million-plus contract, so he gets all his money, but defer a lot of it until after the eight years are up. That would give the Cubs a lower luxury tax number while Bellinger played for them, and it does seem the team is quite luxury tax-conscious.

If you have any contract suggestions, leave them in the comments.

As has been said by many, Bellinger and the Cubs meet each other’s needs. Bellinger seemed to truly enjoy his 2023 season on the North Side and Cubs fans took to him being here. I don’t see a fit for him on any other team at this point in the offseason. If the Cubs do intend to use Michael Busch as their first baseman going forward, that would put Bellinger back in center field — but only until Pete Crow-Armstrong is ready. At that point Craig Counsell would have to do a lot of mix-and-match with several players rotating through a number of positions and DH. That, to me, would be a good problem to have.

Jed Hoyer isn’t going to make this signing because Cubs fans want him to. That’s just not how baseball operations executives work. Nevertheless, it does seem to be a perfect match. Get it done, Jed.

Poll

When will Cody Bellinger re-sign with the Cubs?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Today!
    (36 votes)
  • 9%
    Later this week
    (132 votes)
  • 30%
    In the last two weeks of January
    (441 votes)
  • 30%
    February
    (442 votes)
  • 2%
    March
    (38 votes)
  • 25%
    He won’t — he’ll sign with a different team
    (368 votes)
1457 votes total Vote Now