MLB insider makes haunting prediction about Cody Bellinger's landing spot


MLB insider makes haunting prediction about Cody Bellinger’s landing spot originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Days go by, and Cody Bellinger is still a free agent.

It’s well-documented, at this point, by several reports, that the Cubs are interested in Bellinger. But they’re not fully interested in the price. And since they’re not going big with Bellinger, ESPN’s Jeff Passan projects other teams might need him more and, therefore, might be willing to pay that price.

“This is just me trying to read tea leaves,” Passan said on ESPN 1000. “I just feel like the Toronto Blue Jays need Cody Bellinger more than the Cubs do. There’s been a lot of consternation up in Toronto, especially after the way the [Shohei] Ohtani situation played out. It was just a spectacular miss. And pursuing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they weren’t even close.

“And they’ve made a couple of moves this offseason, but it’s certainly not the kinds of moves that are gonna take you from a team that’s on the cusp of playoff contention to one that’s handly going to be in. The need is more acute in Toronto than it is with the Cubs.”

It’s a fair projection. If the Cubs want him that badly, he would be signed right now. But you could say the same about the other teams. That’s what makes Bellinger’s ongoing free agency so curious. Who is determined the most to sign him?

The idea of a short-term deal for Bellinger hasn’t surfaced much, if at all, this offseason. The one roadblock standing in between a Bellinger-Cubs reunion appears to be his asking price and his desire for a long-term deal.

Would the Cubs and Bellinger be interested in doing a short-term deal? Passan concedes to the notion that it could be more attractive for the Cubs. But he doesn’t believe the desire exists entirely on the North Side.

“[The Cubs] don’t wanna go $200+ million and if the price comes down on that if they could do a shorter term deal if they could do something with opt outs then, yeah, maybe it becomes more attractive to them but I don’t think the desperation is there,” Passan said.

MORE: Could Cody Bellinger sign a short-term contract with the Cubs?

MLB’s Mark Feinsand recently reported Bellinger’s asking price is north of $200 million for the entirety of his next contract. Remember, Bellinger’s agent is the notorious Scott Boras, known for his stubborn negotiation and big asking prices.

“Ultimately, the widespread belief within the industry is that Bellinger and the Cubs will reunite, but only if/when his asking price comes down,” Feinsand recently wrote.

The Cubs handed Bellinger a one-year contract worth $17.5 million last season and he turned it into merit for a massive, long-term deal. But there don’t appear to be many interested suitors in his asking price. His free agency might reach a dead end if he doesn’t provide any financial flexibility.

A short-term deal is likely a hard sell for Bellinger. He dominated with the Cubs last season and rejuvenated his career. He’s probably hard-set on getting locked up for maybe the rest of his career.

Last season, Bellinger earned the NL Comeback Player of the Year award, thanks to a steady .307 batting average and .881 OPS. He added 26 home runs and 97 RBIs to his stat sheet and finished the season with a 4.4 WAR. He was rock solid in center field, too.

Sure, Pete Crow-Armstrong’s defense in center field is outstanding. But the Cubs need a playmaker at the plate and left-handed hitting. They also need a first baseman, and potentially a designated hitter. Insert Bellinger.

Will the Cubs get a deal done with Bellinger? Or, will another team’s desire for him outweigh the Cubs’?

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