5 surprises that helped propel the Cubs to the brink of the postseason

Let's look back at the 2023 season and recount the surprising events that got us on the cusp of a playoff run

Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs
Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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5 Cubs surprises - #3: Cody Bellinger's resurgence

I feel like a broken record raving about Cody Bellinger all the time, but I will do it until the day he signs his next contract. A contract that better be with the Chicago Cubs.

It's hard to believe that Bellinger signed a prove-it deal last winter worth $17.5 million, but he played his way into a massive pay day this winter. The expectations were low for the 28-year-old outfielder/first baseman, but perhaps that's why he shattered them.

In 478 at-bats, Bellinger owns an elite .305/.355/.531 slash line with 26 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases. His outstanding defense in center field was a phenomenal addition, but his ability to transfer that caliber of defense to first base was more important for the Cubs' needs this year. Eric Hosmer, Trey Mancini and Matt Mervis all failed to take the reins of the position, making Bellinger an even more important cog in the machine.

I expect Bellinger to sign a massive deal this offseason that could end up boasting the most guaranteed money for anyone not named Shohei Ohtani. For heaven's sake, the Cubs need to re-sign this guy if they hope to seriously compete in the near future because he just turned in an MVP type year and would be in the conversation to win that award if he hadn't missed a month with an injury.