By this point, one thing should be abundantly clear: Jed Hoyer isn't going to play Scott Boras' game when it comes to Cody Bellinger. If Boras sticks to a $200 million asking price on his client, Hoyer seems likely to pivot to more cost-effective options and count on young guys like Pete Crow-Armstrong to step up.
Of course, if Bellinger returns, Crow-Armstrong stands to lose a good bit of playing time. He'd either slot into a fourth outfielder role or perhaps open the season at Triple-A Iowa for more seasoning. That decision that could be easily justified by the fact he has just 34 games under his belt at that level, despite getting his first taste of big league action late last summer.
So how does the Cubs' top propect and the likely long-term solution in center feel about the prospect of Bellinger returning? He wants him back - period.
"I'm here to win. And if Cody Bellinger is gonna do that and help us make that happen, then he should be here. That's how I feel. It doesn't affect what I do."- Pete Crow-Armstrong via MLB.com
Cubs would have to get creative in 2024 with Cody Bellinger, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Michael Busch all vying for regular at-bats
If he returns, Bellinger will definitely be a multi-position guy for manager Craig Counsell, splitting time between center, first and DH - adding a nice safety net for prospects like Crow-Armstrong and Michael Busch, who heads into spring with a long runway to win the first base job outright. But, based on the latest reports, the Cubs and Boras are no closer to a deal now than they were back in the fall, when the NL Comeback Player of the Year officially hit free agency.
This spring will go a long way toward determining whether or not Crow-Armstrong opens the year with the MLB club. There are still likely moves to be made between now and the start of the regular season that will also factor into how the club handles its heralded outfield prospect. But the fact the man with the most to lose in terms of opportunity still wants Bellinger back says a lot - and should be telling to Hoyer and Carter Hawkins.