Cubs bringing back hitting coach Dustin Kelly; will it help them retain Cody Bellinger?

The former Rookie of the Year and MVP loves working with Kelly; but money talks.

Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

The San Francisco Giants aren't poaching the manager of a division rival to be a mediocre ballclub. With reports Bob Melvin will leave the Padres to join the Giants in 2024, it only adds fuel to the fire that the Giants will be big players this offseason - and Cody Bellinger could be a perfect addition.

Farhan Zaidi could look to give Bellinger a deal that would allow him to haunt one of his former teams, the Dodgers, for years to come. The team has money to spend and lacks star power - a problem that's existed, really, since Buster Posey rode off into the sunset. San Francisco and the Yankees have already been linked to the former MVP and Rookie of the Year - and it remains to be seen if the Cubs have what it takes to get in the ring with them financially.

Cubs hoping Dustin Kelly can help them bring back Cody Bellinger

One of the things that drew Bellinger to the Cubs last winter, though, was the presence of hitting coach Dustin Kelly. The two had connections dating back to when they both spent time in Los Angeles. And, for what it's worth, Chicago is bringing Kelly back in 2024.

"Dustin Kelly will return as the lead hitting coach, according to sources familiar with the team’s planning for next season. The Cubs typically wait until all the positions are filled and the hiring cycle is over before announcing the entire coaching staff. But this past season was a step in the right direction for a hitting infrastructure that had been lagging behind the pitching side of the organization for a few years."

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Reunited with Kelly - and fully healthy for the first time in years - Bellinger got to work right away, making the Cubs' Arizona facility his second home as soon as he signed his one-year deal last winter. The results spoke for themselves: he became just the fifth Cubs player in the last 40 years to join the 20/20 club and was an offensive juggernaut for David Ross, not to mention an incredibly valuable defender at two positions.

At the end of the day, money - and years - talk, and that's what will decide where Bellinger spends the next portion of his career. The Cubs will probably have to hand him the largest contract in franchise history to keep him in Chicago, but keeping Kelly in the fold certainly doesn't hurt their case.