Cody Bellinger is likely going to be at the center of the Chicago Cubs' plans this off-season and that was made rather obvious after the MLB Trade Deadline.
As the deadline approached last season, Bellinger was a popular name on the market with teams such as the New York Yankees circling the Cubs. The Yankees' interest in Bellinger was to the point where the team was willing to part with top prospect Jasson Dominguez.
The Cubs took Bellinger off the trade the market the weekend prior to the deadline and bringing him back on a long-term deal is likely on the agenda for the team's front office this winter.
Easier said than done as Bellinger, represented by Scott Boras, is in a position to be the most sought-after free agent not named Shohei Ohtani and that could be what lessens the chances of a return to the Cubs in 2024.
One of the teams that will be in on Bellinger will be the Yankees and that confirmation was provided by Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
"The Yankees passed on several big position-player free agents in recent years, but Cody Bellinger looks like a fit.- New York Post
The incumbent Cubs will be in that hunt. So could the Giants."
After being one of Major League Baseball's most disappointing teams in 2023, the Yankees seemed primed for a traditional Yankee winter where no price is too costly for them. If that is the case, that may make it difficult for the Cubs and their ability to find a long-term deal with Bellinger.
If the Yankees were willing to part with their top prospect for Bellinger at a deadline where many considered them to be sellers, they likely would be willing to spend any amount this winter in order to get Bellinger to say yes to them.
If the Yankees do offer Bellinger a contract similar to what some of the top free agents landed last winter, he is as good as gone in terms of his chances of coming back to the Cubs.