Much of the Chicago Cubs' off-season would appear to be centered around the goal of bringing center fielder Cody Bellinger back on a long-term deal.
For a player who signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last off-season with the hopes of re-igniting his career, Bellinger turned into a leader for the team and was consistently praised by the team's front office for the value he provided both on and off the field.
For many of those reasons, Marquee's Tony Andracki laid out the case for why the Cubs need to bring Bellinger back on a long-term deal.
There is no question that Bellinger was excellent with the Cubs during the 2023 season. Bellinger slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and a wRC+ of 134. For Bellinger, it was his best offensive season since he won the National League MVP award in 2019 and there is a strong case for him to be the National League Comeback Player of the Year.
While speaking on Bellinger, many are suggesting that his struggles during the final month of the season should serve as a caution for the Cubs and a potential long-term deal. The idea of Bellinger struggling in September has been overstated. Bellinger slashed .273/.336/.491 during the final month of the season with 6 home runs and 121 wRC+. Sure, there was a regression from his season average but not nearly to the extent that the Cubs should be deterred from bringing Bellinger back on a deal that would undoubtedly be the largest in franchise history.
At some point, the Cubs will need to show a willingness to open their wallet and spend money like they are the Cubs. Bellinger represents the perfect opportunity for the team to do so this off-season.