The Los Angeles Dodgers added to their initial list of free agents last month when they non-tendered three players, including Cody Bellinger, who was coming off a third consecutive subpar season.
Despite his recent struggles, Bellinger generated significant interest on the open market due to his previous success and the fact that he is only 27 years old. Bellinger’s career accolades include National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2017, two All-Star Game appearances and the 2019 NL MVP Award.
The Colorado Rockies, Dodgers, Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays were among the nearly dozen of teams connected to Bellinger in recent weeks.
Adding onto the flurry of activity during the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Bellinger agreed to sign a one-year, $17.5 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Outfielder Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs are in agreement on a one-year, $17.5 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2022
Bellinger’s contract with the Cubs also includes a mutual option for 2024, per David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
Cody Bellinger’s deal with #Cubs is for 1 year with mutual option for second year. Bellinger is guaranteed $17.5 million.
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) December 6, 2022
Bellinger’s salary with the Cubs represents a slightly increase from the $17 million he earned in 2022. Bellinger was projected to receive an increase in the range of $18 million to $20 million had he been tendered a contract by the Dodgers and gone through the arbitration process for a final time.
Although the former top prospect has shown flashes of the talent that took MLB by storm, Bellinger has hit just .203/.272/.376 with 46 doubles, 41 home runs and 134 RBI in 295 games over the past three seasons. He bounced back in some regard this year, but still had trouble making consistent contact.
Cody Bellinger worked out at Oklahoma State with Jackson & Matt Holliday
As Bellinger considered his options in free agency, he recently was spotted at Oklahoma State taking batting practice with former MLB All-Star Matt Holliday, and his son Jackson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
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