Cody Bellinger once again at the center of Cubs' Trade Rumors

Cody Bellinger's trade market is complex.
Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants
Chicago Cubs v San Francisco Giants / Brandon Vallance/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs activity at the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline will once again be dictated by what the team decides to do with Cody Bellinger.

Short of the Cubs going on an unexpected run to bring the Milwaukee Brewers back within viewing distance in the National League Central division, it would seem all but confirmed that the Cubs will be selling at the Trade Deadline.

Of the position players that the Cubs have to offer, Cody Bellinger is likely the name that most contending teams have their eyes on.

The circumstances around Bellinger this season are far different than the position he was in last season when he was among the most sought-after players at the deadline before the Cubs decided to push their chips toward contending.

Unlike last season, Bellinger is not destined to become a free agent at the end of the 2024 campaign. Bellinger has two player opt-outs on his contract for the next two seasons and barring a power resurgence, it seems more likely that those options would be exercised by Bellinger instead of the former National League MVP testing the free-agent waters for a second consecutive winter.

The case for the Cubs trading Cody Bellinger is complex.

In a general sense, yes, the Cubs should try to move Bellinger but his value is not nearly as high as it was last season. To that end, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic (Subscription Required) talked about what Bellinger's value may be.

" One scout suggested that if the Cubs were to kick in more money, that was the easy way to up the return. The Cubs could also agree to conditionally kick in more money should he opt into his contract for next season."

The Athletic

As with any move that the Cubs make at the trade deadline in a season where the intent was to contend, they will need to be creative with how they choose to move Bellinger. The question becomes, has Bellinger's value, due to his contract and lack of slug, sunk to the point where the Cubs would be looking at another low-level lottery ticket? If that's the case, it's more likely that the Cubs will hold onto Bellinger and revisit a potential trade in the offseason if the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year picks up his player option.