With there being a sense of neither side being willing to budge between the Chicago Cubs and Scott Boras when it comes to the price of Cody Bellinger's next contract, it may appear more likely that the Cubs will pivot to another one of Boras' clients that remain on the free-agent market.
Boras controls free agency for the remainder of this off-season given that he represents starting pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell, and position players in Bellinger and Matt Chapman. It seems likely that the Cubs will be landing one of the Boras' clients that remains available and if they are to be ranked in most likely to least, it's probably the following order:
- Cody Bellinger, CF/1B
- Matt Chapman, 3B
- Jordan Montgomery, SP
- Blake Snell, SP
Given the need that the Cubs have in their lineup and for offense as a whole, Bellinger and Chapman top the list in terms of most likely. Montgomery fits the profile of a starting pitcher that the Cubs love to insert into their rotation but as The Athletic points out (Subscription Required), if his price falls to the point where the Cubs are interested, so will other teams, specifically, the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
There does not appear any scenario where the Cubs make a play for reigning National League Cy Young award winner, Blake Snell. Snell has. qualifying offer attached to his free agency and beyond the threat of losing draft pick compensation, Snell is not as projectable as Montgomery.
Snell is entering his age-31 season and has two seasons under his belt where he truly was among the best-starting pitchers in all of baseball, 2018 and 2023. Snell won the Cy Young award in each of those seasons and that is how he is looking to be paid.
Reports earlier this off-season were that Snell was in search of a $250MM deal for 9 years. The issue is that outside of those two seasons, Snell has proven to be slightly above average as he has a collective ERA+ of 108.5 in his non-Cy-Young seasons. Even if Snell's price drops considerably, the Cubs likely wouldn't risk the loss of a draft pick when the likelihood is that they may get similar production from a combination of Ben Brown, Cade Horton, and Javier Assad.