The off-season is playing out as expected so far for Cody Bellinger.
Bellinger was never going to be a free agent that signed early and that seemed to be an idea that worked in the Chicago Cubs' favor. The Cubs' priority at the moment is their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani but if they miss, it would seem likely that they may turn back to Bellinger.
Even the New York Yankees, believed to be the Cubs' biggest competition for Bellinger, have prioritized a trade for Juan Soto before signing the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year.
Though, Bellinger is receiving interest from teams not believed to be a finalist for Ohtani.
The Mariners have an open spot in their outfield after trading Jarred Kelenic to the Atlanta Braves earlier this week. Since the trade, there had been speculation that with the financial flexibility created, the Mariners may insert themselves in the Soto trade discussions.
At this point, it would seem that Bellinger's market will come into focus once Ohtani makes a decision. Three of the teams interested in Ohtani--the Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Toronto Blue Jays--may shift their focus to Bellinger if they are not the team that signs the 2023 American League MVP.
As it turns out, the Cubs may be in an ideal position to move on Bellinger if they do miss on Ohtani. No, the Cubs aren't going to meet the $250MM asking price but there likely will be a lucrative long-term offer made to Bellinger as a fallback option to their missed pursuit of Ohtani.