Yankees target Cody Bellinger stays in Chicago for 3-year, $80M

The Yankees look to sign the slugger of the Chicago Cubs, Cody Bellinger

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In a move that quells the swirling rumors and ends a protracted free agency saga, Cody Bellinger has chosen to remain a fixture in the Chicago Cubs lineup, signing a three-year contract worth $80 million. This decision comes after speculation linked Bellinger with several teams, most notably the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants. However, it’s the Cubs who have won the day, securing the services of the former MVP for the foreseeable future.

Cody Bellinger’s free agency frenzy ends

The drama of Cody Bellinger’s free agency was one of the offseason’s most tantalizing stories, extending just beyond the commencement of Spring Training. Bellinger, represented by the astute Scott Boras, was at the center of a high-stakes negotiation game that many teams were initially eager to play. Despite interest from powerhouses like the Yankees and Giants, it was the Cubs who emerged victorious, re-signing Bellinger after a tenure that has already seen him return to his elite form.

Bellinger’s free agency was more than just a waiting game; it was a testament to the value teams place on proven talent mixed with potential for greatness. His decision to stay with the Cubs not only ends the speculation but also sets the stage for what the Cubs hope will be a period of sustained success, building around a core that includes Bellinger’s impactful bat and glove.

Breaking down Bellinger’s contract

Jeff Passan of ESPN was the first to report the details of Bellinger’s new deal with the Cubs, which is structured to give both the player and the team flexibility and potential long-term benefits. The contract’s total value is $80 million over three years, which works out to an average annual value (AAV) of $26.67 million. Notably, the deal includes player opt-outs after the 2024 and 2025 seasons, giving Bellinger the option to re-enter free agency based on his performance and market conditions.

The payout structure of the contract is particularly interesting:

  • 2023: $30 million
  • 2024: $30 million
  • 2025: $20 million

This tiered structure reflects both the immediate value the Cubs place on Bellinger and their willingness to invest heavily in his resurgence as a premier player in MLB. The inclusion of player opt-outs is a nod to the changing dynamics of baseball contracts, where players often seek the flexibility to capitalize on their market value.

Free agent Cody Bellinger is a target for the Yankees in 2023 offseason.

Grading the Cubs’ decision to re-sign Bellinger at such a high figure might invite scrutiny, especially considering his recent performance fluctuations. However, the Cubs are evidently betting on Bellinger not just returning to, but maintaining, the form that once made him an MVP and a cornerstone of their lineup. With Bellinger batting .307 and smashing 26 home runs in the last season, the Cubs are clearly focused on the upside.

Bellinger’s tenure with the Cubs so far has been a revival of sorts, especially after a couple of challenging seasons with the Dodgers marred by injuries. His adaptability at the plate and defensive versatility only add to his value, making this deal a potentially pivotal moment for both Bellinger and the Cubs as they look to build a competitive team around him.

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