Cody Bellinger or bust appears to be the plan for the Chicago Cubs

Rhys Hoskins' signing with the Milwaukee Brewers puts pressure on the Chicago Cubs. Will they be able to secure a deal with their top priority, Cody Bellinger?

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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With Rhys Hoskins signing with the Milwaukee Brewers, agent Scott Boras may have issued a checkmate to the Chicago Cubs.

Hoskins, at the time of his deal with the Brewers, was no longer a priority target for the Cubs given their recent trade for highly regarded first base prospect Michael Busch. That sentiment was explained by Sahadev Sharma in his latest for The Athletic (Subscription Required).

While Sharma does lend credence to the idea that the Cubs may target veteran bats such as Justin Turner, Brandon Belt, or J.D. Martinez, it was also clear that Bellinger is the focus of the Cubs' off-season right now.

"Bellinger is the best fit as far as free agents go. Once the Cubs traded for Busch and Hoyer made it known that they were still looking for help against right-handed bats, preferably a lefty, that became clear to anyone who was paying attention."

The Athletic

Boras has backed the Cubs' into a corner.

While Hoskins would not have been a clear fit for the Cubs in a scenario where Bellinger is also brought back, the former Philadelphia Phillies' first baseman was a clear fallback option for the Cubs if they could not reach an agreement with the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year. Not only did Boras take that fallback option off the market but he did so by negotiating a deal for Hoskins to join the Cubs' division rival in the Brewers.

Boras has backed the Cubs into a corner and it is partially due to Jed Hoyer's patience. Hoyer is now at the point where the Cubs' off-season would be viewed as a failure if Bellinger signs elsewhere. That likely means that Hoyer will need to go outside of his comfort zone on a deal for Bellinger but coming up short is not an answer.

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