Chicago Cubs News: Cubs get Cody Bellinger on a Solid Deal
The Chicago Cubs made their first significant move of Winter Meetings week by agreeing to a one-year, $17.5 million deal with Cody Bellinger, per Jeff Passan. The 27-year old Bellinger was sought after by a number of teams, despite his recent struggles, but the Cubs got him at under $20 million for just one year. Even with his recent struggles, this is really nice value.
One can be skeptical of the former MVP's value at this point in his career. Injuries in recent years have seemed to have taken a big toll on his performance. He was a 7.7 fWAR player with 161 wRC+ and 47 home runs in 2019, but has slashed .203/.272/.376 in 295 games since. Last year he hit .210/.265/.389 with 19 home runs, an 83 wRC+ and was a 1.7 fWAR player. It would be an understatement to say the past few years have been rough for Bellinger.
The hope for the Cubs is that they can help reshape him and regain some form. At least last season he hit 19 homers, and the Cubs need some pop. Especially from the left side. He was solid in centerfield with the glove, numbers do not pop out, but he was not awful. His ability to play first can also help add another veteran at that spot while the Cubs look to grow Matt Mervis. If he can hit around 20 home runs and play some solid defense, that would at least give the Cubs something.
$17.5 million might seem like a lot for a guy who has struggled, but considering the market and the resume Bellinger has, it is not a bad value. Especially considering it's a one-year deal. Right now the long-term goal for centerfield is likely Pete Crow-Armstrong, who is not ready for MLB action yet. Bellinger is potentially a nice bridge to him. If the Bellinger experiment completely fails to produce, then it's just a one-year deal and no longterm risk is taken here.
Welcome to the North Side, Cody Bellinger.