Cody Bellinger is the next major domino to fall this off-season and that would undoubtedly have a direct impact on the Chicago Cubs' off-season.
The belief on the national level has been that the Cubs remain the best fit for Bellinger and that sentiment was shared by Jon Heyman of the New York Post. The issue for the Cubs and Bellinger is that Scott Boras has one price in mind for his client while the Cubs likely are not willing to budge from their offer.
The issue is that Boras prefers to do his negotiating through national media while Cubs' president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer prefers to keep matters out of the public eye. In the end, Heyman's update on Bellinger reads as if it was directly clipped from an email he received from Boras, mostly because of the stats that were mentioned.
"1 of 4 in the last decade to win MVP and been in the top 10 twice more (Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve)- Jon Heyman, New York Post
1 of 3 OF to hit .300 with 55 extra-base hits in 2023 (Ronald Acuna Jr., Betts)
1 of 3 players with an 80 percent contact rate and .525 slugging percentage (Acuna, Betts, Freddie Freeman)
1 of 5 with an .800 OPS and a positive outs above average on defense (Freeman, Harper, Luis Robert, Corbin Carroll)
1 of 6 with a .300 BA and .500 SLG (Corey Seager, Acuna, Freeman, Betts, Shohei Ohtani)
1 of 2 historically with great offense at both center field and first base, defined as an .800 OPS and 300 games at each position (Stan Musial)."
Throughout the off-season, Boras has routinely mentioned Bellinger in the same breath as current MVP-caliber players. To that end, it's slightly lazy reporting on Heyman's end to not break apart the messaging that he likely received from Boras.
The Cubs are not going to pay Bellinger as if he is an MVP-caliber player. While Bellinger was the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year, his batted ball metrics would suggest that regression to the mean is expected.
The staring contest between the Cubs and Boras does not show any sign of ending, which could complicate matters for the team's off-season. Bellinger returning to the Cubs in 2024 remains a pivotal component to any plan where the team's off-season can be considered successful.