Cubs Rumors: Cody Bellinger sounds like a dream trade target for the Astros

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

The reigning World Series champion Houston Astros are in a position they've not occupied in some time: they're the hunters, rather than the hunted, in the AL West, entering action Monday trailing the first-place Texas Rangers by five games.

First-year Astros GM Dana Brown spoke to the media over the weekend and his comments should sound alarm bells for Cubs fans, whose club are staring a third-straight in-season sell-off square in the eyes at this point.

"...A left-handed bat would be exciting, but any bat that can hit both sides, that’s actually good too. In terms of position, if you can get a guy that can play multiple positions, that would be great. You could give some guys some time in the outfield, give the first baseman a day, give the DH a day. Having a guy that’s versatile — that would be ideal.

Dana Brown, Astros GM

Know anybody on a one-year deal who checks all those boxes? Me, too. Former NL Rookie of the Year and Cody Bellinger, who has been shelved with a knee injury for almost a full month, is a plus defender in the outfield and at first and, when healthy, is capable of making a major impact offensively with his bat (and his legs, for that matter).

Cubs, Astros make sense as potential Cody Bellinger trade partners

The Cubs brought Bellinger in last winter after the Dodgers cut ties with him, hoping a change of scenery helped reinvigorate the 27-year-old. The early returns were promising, too, with Bellinger putting up a 124 OPS+ in 163 plate appearances prior to the injury.

Should the front office elect to shop him, how he plays upon his return will go a long ways toward determining what exactly the Cubs can get for him at the deadline. Potential buyers will want to see he's healthy and doing what he did early in the year before they part with anything of substantial value.

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Of course, we're all hoping Chicago can turn things around in the next few weeks, which features a ton of divisional matchups. But if that's not the case, I suspect we'll see a firesale similar to what we've borne witness to in recent years. Again, I hope I'm wrong. Desperately. But the results, to this point, haven't exactly inspired a ton of confidence.