If Cubs Withdraw, Will Bellinger's $300M Free Agency Bid Falter?

MLB's Free Agency: Bellinger's Next Move Awaited.

by Nouman Rasool
If Cubs Withdraw, Will Bellinger's $300M Free Agency Bid Falter?
© Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Superstar Cody Bellinger, fresh off a triumphant 2023 season, is now poised to embark on a lucrative chapter in Major League Baseball. Market insiders hint at a staggering $300 million demand linked to Bellinger's name. While this marks his prime opportunity for a major financial breakthrough, Bellinger's strategy seems to involve a patient approach to his free agency deal, potentially impacting the dynamics of his market pursuit.

Cubs Retreat, Bellinger's Edge

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown considerable interest in Bellinger, known as 'Cody Love' in baseball circles. The Chicago Cubs, his previous team, also appeared to be in the race for his signature.

However, recent reports suggest the Cubs may be stepping back from the free agency battle for Bellinger, a move that could play into the player's advantage. Or could it be a detriment? According to ESPN, both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs, having missed out on Shohei Ohtani, emerged as strong contenders for Bellinger.

But with the Cubs potentially withdrawing, the Blue Jays might become the frontrunners and possibly the sole serious contenders. The departure of his former team from the bidding war could limit Bellinger's negotiating power, leaving him with fewer options.

Conversely, the reduced competition might elevate Bellinger's value for teams like the Seattle Mariners and the Blue Jays, who are actively exploring free agency. Bellinger's accolades this year, including a Silver Slugger and an NL Comeback Player of the Year award, highlight his exceptional talent.

ESPN acknowledges him as the "best left-handed hitter available," backed by an impressive .307/.356/.525 slash line in 2023. His agent, Scott Boras, anticipates a continuous upward trajectory for Bellinger. A strategic shift in his playing style, resulting in a softer contact at two strikes, has reduced Bellinger's average exit velocity to a career-low of 87.9 mph.

Yet, this hasn't dampened his performance, indicating a promising future. Boras draws parallels to players like Corey Seager and Bryce Harper, who secured contracts exceeding $300 million with comparable stats. Boras told ESPN, "Seager was injured in his platform season, while Cody had a great one." This comparison might be pivotal in shaping Bellinger's free agency outcome.

The final decision, influenced by the market dynamics and Bellinger's choices, will determine the value of the deal he ultimately secures.