Cody Bellinger continues to garner praise for his offensive performance in 2023 with the Chicago Cubs after being named a finalist for this year's National League Hank Aaron Award.
The Hank Aaron Award is an annual award given to the player who recorded the best overall offensive season. The recipient is chosen by a combination of fan voting and a panel of Hall of Famers, according to MLB.com.
Bellinger likely won't win the award since others like Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mookie Betts put up better overall numbers, but the fact that he is a finalist just increases his value going into free agency this winter. And if Bellinger didn't get sidelined for an entire month of the season with a hip injury, there is a serious possibility that he would be the favorite for not only the Hank Aaron Award but also the National League MVP award.
What Bellinger will most likely take home this year is the NL Comeback player of the Year award, and a beefy new contract to reward his stellar efforts in 2023. After three straight stagnant years at the plate with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bellinger signed a short-term prove-it deal with the Cubs last offseason and proved it he did.
The 28-year-old was far and away the best player on the Cubs this year after leading the team in home runs (26), RBI (97), batting average (.307) and OPS (.881). Not to mention he stole 20 bases and played gold-glove caliber defense in both center field and at first base. These feats will undoubtedly secure Bellinger one of, if not the most lucrative contract this winter whether the Cubs are the ones to give it to him or not.
But it would be a serious disappointment for Cubs fans to see Bellinger in a different uniform next year after his efforts to revive an offense that has struggled mightily since 2021.