Cody Bellinger signs a complicated deal to join the Chicago Cubs again

Cody Bellinger, who’s seen as one of the best players available in free agency this year, has agreed to join the Chicago Cubs. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Bellinger will play for the Cubs in the next season.

In 2022, Bellinger didn’t perform well with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting only .210 and getting on base just .265. Because of this, the Dodgers didn’t extend his contract early. But Bellinger improved when he signed a short-term deal with the Cubs. He did much better, hitting .307 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .525 slugging percentage. He even won the Silver Slugger award.

In November, MLB Trade Rumors said Bellinger was the second-best free agent after Shohei Ohtani. They predicted he could get a big contract worth $264 million for 12 years.

He didn’t do as well as expected. Some of the stats showing how he hit the ball weren’t as good as before, which might have made teams unsure about signing him.

His average speed of hitting the ball was 87.9 miles per hour, which is lower than usual for him. He also didn’t hit the ball hard as often as other players.

Because of the special deal he got, he can decide to look for a new team again next year or the year after if he wants to. If he doesn’t leave his contract after this season or the next, Passan thinks he’ll make $30 million in 2024 and 2025, and $20 million in 2026.

If he doesn’t do well this season, he might become a free agent again. He chose a contract that lets him change teams more easily instead of one that gives him stability but less money.

Cody Bellinger

Before signing Bellinger, the Cubs were spending $205 million on player salaries. Signing Bellinger means they’ll spend about $26.7 million each year on average, bringing their total spending to $231.7 million.

To have to pay a competitive balance tax, a team has to spend more than $237 million. If the Cubs get more players that cost $5.3 million or more, they’ll be one of six teams in Major League Baseball to pay that tax.

MLB Pipeline says that Owen Caissie, a strong outfielder, and Matt Shaw, who can play in different infield positions, did really well in Double-A last season. They’re ranked 47th and 54th in the overall rankings. They’re expected to be ready to play for the Cubs by the end of this year or early in 2025, which will make the team even stronger.

Since the Cubs are good at hitting the ball, they can trade for more pitchers, especially because the National League Central is very competitive. With Bellinger joining the team again, the Cubs have a good chance of doing even better than their 83-79 record from last season and making it to the postseason again.

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