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Cubs re-sign outfielder Cody Bellinger

Cody Bellinger Cubs

Cody Bellinger Cubs
Cody Bellinger had a career resurgence with the Cubs last season. (Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Cubs re-sign outfielder Cody Bellinger

The Chicago Cubs have re-signed free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger to a three-year, $80 million deal, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan was first to report late Sunday evening. 

There will be opt-outs after each of the first two seasons of the deal, which will pay him $30 million in 2024, $30 million in 2025 and $20 million in 2026, should he not opt out after 2025, per Passan.

After a disappointing 2022 with the Dodgers, Bellinger signed with the Cubs in a one-year prove-it deal with the Cubs last season and declined the mutual option in November. 

He had his best season in nearly a half-decade last season. Bellinger slashed .307/.356/.525 (.881 OPS; 133 OPS+), clubbing 26 home runs and 97 RBIs with 20 stolen bases across 130 games (556 plate appearances). That came in addition to 29 doubles and one triple.

Bellinger’s strikeout rate in 2023 (15.7%) sunk nearly 12 percentage points from his 2022 mark (27.3%) and nearly eight percentage points from his career K-rate entering that season (23.2%). He finished 10th in the NL MVP voting and won a silver slugger–the second of his career.

The 28-year-old split time between center field and first base last season, though he spent the majority of his time in center. While his bat looked great, had a down season defensively–from a statistical standpoint–in center, however. He tallied a career-low minus-three defensive runs saved with just four outs-above-average at that spot. 

He is projected to be the team’s starting center fielder, but could see time at first along with prospect Michael Busch and Patrick Wisdom.

Bellinger was expected to command over $200 million, but the longer the offseason trickled along, the less realistic that threshold was expected to be met. Fortunately enough for him, if he has another very strong season, he could elect to opt out for long-term money on the market in the 2025 offseason.

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