3 Chicago Cubs scenarios where a Cody Bellinger extension makes sense

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Looking to re-establish his once sky-high value after several injury-plagued seasons to close out the Dodgers chapter of his career, Cody Bellinger inked a one-year, $17.5 million deal with the Cubs this offseason. The early returns have been everything the front office could have wished for and more, with the former MVP putting up a 141 OPS+ entering Friday's series opener against the Twins.

This week, the possibility of Bellinger staying in Chicago post-2023 took center stage, with Cubs GM Carter Hawkins leaving the door open on such a scenario. I still think it's a long-shot that the Gold Glove outfielder calls Wrigley Field home past this year, but there are a few scenarios that make it more likely.

3 Chicago Cubs scenarios where a Cody Bellinger extension makes sense: #3 - A trade involving one of the team's top outfield prospects

According to MLB Pipeline, the top 3 Chicago Cubs prospects are all outfielders in Pete Crow-Armstrong (1), Kevin Alcantara (2) and Brennen Davis (3). That's not the end of the organizational outfield depth by any means, but it demonstrates how loaded the Cubs are when looking at the long-term outfield picture.

Pair that with the fact Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ are both under team control through 2026 and it's hard to see how giving Bellinger a lengthy, high-dollar deal makes sense for the Cubs right now. He won't come cheap given his age and resurgence early on in the year and there's no chance a Boras client takes any sort of discount in a weak free agent market.

All that being said, if the Cubs believe they'll need to dip into that outfield prospect depth to address another area on the roster, such as the bullpen, locking Bellinger up might make a little more sense. After all, it's not set in stone he'd need to play center field every day; he has experience at first base and you can keep his bat in the lineup via the DH spot, too.