As the Chicago Cubs trudge through the offseason in search of a critical bat, all signs point to a reunion with Cody Bellinger once the two sides can figure out a way to agree on a contract. My money is still on Bellinger being a Cub in 2024, and it got the wheels turning on what that means for the lineup, prospects, and the future of the team in general.
Good problems to have - 3. Where players play in 2024
Assuming the Cubs add Bellinger back, it gives the Cubs one of the more potent lineups in the National League. With Christopher Morel's and Michael Busch's upside, this team launches itself into playoff contention this season. Let's take a glance at this potential Bellinger-led lineup:
1. Nico Hoerner 2B
2. Ian Happ LF
3. Seiya Suzuki RF
4. Cody Bellinger* CF
5. Dansby Swanson SS
6. Michael Busch 1B
7. Christopher Morel DH
8. Nick Madrigal 3B
9. Yan Gomes C
It's pretty stacked 1-7, but from there it gets interesting. Pete Crow-Armstrong is the biggest name omitted from this list. Of course, he could force Jed Hoyer's hand in Spring Training for an everyday roster spot, but that creates interesting position problems. Personally, I'd prefer not to see Crow-Armstrong riding the bench most of the time like we did last season. If you're bringing him up, let him play.
Upon Crow-Armstrong earning a spot in CF, however, Busch moves to DH, Bellinger to 1B, but then it gets dicey with Morel at 3B, given that you (hopefully) won't want to take his bat out of the lineup, given that he just hit 26 HRs and 70 RBIs in only 107 contests last year. The flip side is if he sticks at 3B, it winds up blocking another rising stud prospect in Matt Shaw.
The Cubs don't have to worry about Shaw just yet, but his debut in MLB could be more imminent than we realize if he continues hitting the mark like he did in his first year of pro ball just a season ago.