While the Chicago Cubs definitely will have an interest in bringing Cody Bellinger back on a long-term deal this off-season, there has been an understanding that Bellinger's market likely will not conclude anytime soon.
It will be a balancing act for the Cubs as they can't afford to wait for Bellinger to make a decision on his next time and potentially miss out on a pursuit of free agent Shohei Ohtani or a potential trade for San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto.
Given what a signing of Ohtani or trade for Soto would represent for the Cubs, it would seem likely that the team is currently exhausting most of their current efforts into one of those moves. Or, at least, that was the indication given by Jon Morosi of MLB Network when talking about Bellinger and where things stand for the Cubs.
For the fans that love rankings, a ranking of preference for the Cubs is likely Ohtani, Soto, then Bellinger. However, a ranking of the likelihood for the Cubs is likely Bellinger, Soto, then Ohtani.
There is a belief that the Cubs will make a blockbuster trade this off-season and that would point toward Soto. If the Cubs do trade for Soto, then that will all but confirm that Bellinger will not be back with the team in 2024. The same would be the case if the Cubs sign Ohtani.
The best way to describe this part of the off-season is that it is a feeling-out period. The Cubs already know that Bellinger would be interested in returning on a long-term deal but they first have to determine certainties in their pursuit of Ohtani or Soto. If one of those moves becomes a real possibility for the Cubs, then of course, Bellinger would take a backseat.