Chicago Cubs News: Cody Bellinger returns on a three-year deal

Jeff Passan drops the late-night news the Chicago Cubs fans have been not-so-patiently waiting for.

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The moment that Chicago Cubs players and fans have been waiting for occurred overnight on Saturday into Sunday when Cody Bellinger's return to the team was confirmed.

We thought it may be a short-term deal by this juncture, as teams were not interested in re-signing the former MVP to a long contract. There was too much unknown for big spending teams to pull the trigger since he had one bounce-back season that happened to be on a contract year. Regardless, this is the perfect scenario for a team like the Cubs as this allows the team many paths forward regarding how they will compete.

Re-signing Bellinger to a deal with opt-outs after the first two seasons is solid because it gives him a chance to secure the contract he is after while still in his prime if he plays well. On the other hand, it gives the Cubs a much better shot at competing in 2024. Of course, if Bellinger is fantastic this season, the Cubs can look to extend him since, by that point, he will have proven it for two years in a row. We'll save that conversation for another time, as he still has Scott Boras as his agent.

With the team likely done spending now, this move also buys the Cubs valuable time to see how their farm system improves this coming season. Without putting all the pressure on top prospects to perform at a high level immediately, guys like Pete Crow-Armstrong and Michael Busch can now ease into everyday playing at the major league level without as much spotlight. If those two prospects break out and Bellinger plays well, for example, they will be confident in letting him walk after 2024.

In the end, this is the perfect deal for the Cubs right now. If Bellinger underperforms, it's only for a few years as opposed to what it could have been if Jed Hoyer outbid himself to rush a deal getting done. This is "intelligent spending," and the genius I was referring to, because the Cubs can be good now, and the future isn't shrouded in potential risks due to bad contracts. This is why we trust Hoyer and none of us are the Chicago Cubs' President of Baseball Operations.

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