The updates on the Chicago Cubs and free-agent center fielder Cody Bellinger have been few and far between this off-season.
After the Cubs opted against trading Bellinger at the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline this past season, there seemed to be an initial burst of optimism that there could be a long-term deal between each side. No, an in-season extension between Bellinger and the Cubs was never going to happen but the giddiness from Jed Hoyer made it seem like there was interest.
That giddiness was removed at the start of the off-season when Hoyer was asked about Bellinger's free agency and provided a response that made it seem like the team was preparing to move on from the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year. A quick clarifier on that statement, moving on in the sense of the Cubs prioritizing Shohei Ohtani at the moment instead of a reunion with Bellinger.
That was the clarification that Jon Heyman of the New York Post provided when talking about the Cubs and Bellinger.
" The Cubs are a possibility but are looking at Ohtani first and could go with defensive-minded Pete Crow-Armstrong in center. The Giants are eying Ohtani, too, but Bellinger is a natural fit."- New York Post
It would seem that the Cubs' preferred off-season is one where they sign Ohtani and move forward with Pete Crow-Armstrong as the team's starting center fielder. If the Cubs do miss on Ohtani, then it's likely that they will circle back to the Bellinger. The Cubs have a massive need for an impact bat this off-season and they can not afford to end the off-season without that need being addressed.
As for the Crow-Armstrong aspect of this report, throw last September out. Given the inconsistent playing time Crow-Armstrong had under former Cubs' manager David Ross, the very small data collected is not nearly enough to make any determination on his role for the 2024 season.