Cody Bellinger Cubs Negotiations: Waiting Strategy Could Backfire

MLB offseason: Intricacies of Bellinger's contract negotiations intensify.

by Nouman Rasool
Cody Bellinger Cubs Negotiations: Waiting Strategy Could Backfire
© Quinn Harris/Getty Images

In the high-stakes game of MLB offseason negotiations, former MVP Cody Bellinger finds himself in a precarious position. As the market's dynamics evolve, Bellinger, known for his stellar performance in the past, faces a challenging scenario with the Chicago Cubs, the primary team showing interest in his talent.

Despite previous speculations linking Bellinger to teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants, these possibilities seem to have faded, leaving the Cubs as the frontrunners. This singular focus, while offering an opportunity, also puts Bellinger in a tough spot.

The longer the offseason extends, the more the scales tip in favor of the Cubs, potentially leading to less favorable terms for Bellinger. Renowned for his ambitious contract expectations, reportedly in the realm of $200 million, Bellinger's stance is clear.

Patrick Mooney of The Athletic sheds light on the current situation, noting that the Cubs' offer leans towards a short-term, flexible arrangement, with options for early opt-outs. This approach mirrors the deal with Carlos Correa, providing a blend of stability and the chance for Bellinger to re-enter free agency, should he return to his MVP form.

As Mooney points out, Bellinger's patience might limit his inclination towards such short-term deals.

Navigating Negotiation Pressures

Adding perspective, Bob Nightengale comments on the delicate timing of these negotiations.

As spring training approaches, the pressure mounts. Teams, including the Cubs, may look for cost-effective alternatives, while players like Bellinger aim for lucrative deals. The crucial question becomes: who will compromise first? The backdrop of these talks is Bellinger's pivotal 2022 comeback season, juxtaposed against a market increasingly hesitant to meet his high asking price.

The Cubs, while in need of Bellinger's prowess, have little incentive to reach his desired figure without competitive bids driving up the stakes. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays, previously considered contenders for Bellinger, have shifted their focus.

Recent acquisitions like Kevin Kiermaier and interest in Joc Pederson indicate a strategic pivot, reducing the likelihood of a high-priced deal for Bellinger. With a competitive team already in place, Toronto appears reluctant to overspend.

As spring training looms, the narrative becomes clear: the Cubs might be Bellinger's best shot, but without a bidding war, his dream contract remains elusive. The clock ticks, and both Bellinger and the Cubs must navigate this complex dance of negotiation, where patience and timing are as crucial as the numbers on the contract.