Cody Bellinger contract: Cubs did something right

Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two / Harry How/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs' first big move of the offseason came when they came to terms with free agent center fielder Cody Bellinger on a one-year "prove it" deal. Bellinger is coming from an injury-stricken 2021 and a very forgetful 2022 where he had a batting average of just .210. The Los Angeles Dodgers had an opportunity to extend a 1-year $18 million qualifying offer to him, but they declined to do so. He immediately became a free agent, and the Cubs scooped him up.

Cubs: Bellinger contract is a huge win for front office.

Let's break down how great this deal is for both sides. For the Cubs, they just signed a former Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, and World Series Champion for a fraction of the cost someone with those credentials should be making. If he pans out and does what we all believe he will do, which is bounce back and go off, they can mutually agree to go one more year for double the price. If he flames out fast, the Cubs can buyout the deal and cut him for $5 million, essentially costing the Cubs a relatively small price on a flyer. Additionally, the team will not lose any draft picks or compensation to the Dodgers because LA did not extend a qualifying offer to him.

For Bellinger, he now has a new home where he can reset and refocus his game. After struggling for two straight seasons, a change of scenery could be the spark to finding the MVP-caliber game we all know he has. Additionally, he can add an extra $1 million to his pay if he wins the Comeback Player of the Year award. After 2023, he can then choose to mutually agree with the Cubs on another 1-year contract with double the money, or try to lock something more lucrative and long-term down.

However this goes, this is a high floor/high ceiling move for both the Cubs and Bellinger.