June 23, 2024

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Cody Bellinger will continue with the Cubs after agreeing to an $80 million, 3-year deal

Cody Bellinger will continue with the Cubs after agreeing to an $80 million, 3-year deal

By Jay Cohen (AP) — Cody Bellinger will remain with the Chicago Cubs after agreeing to a three-year, $80 million contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The player will be able to opt out of the contract after each of the first two seasons, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal is still dependent on completing a medical. Bellinger will receive 30 million this year, then 30 million in 2025 if he decides to stay with Chicago in 2025, and finally 20 million in 2026 if he does not exit the contract.

Bellinger was one of five big-name free agents represented by Scott Boras who entered preseason camp without trades. Pitchers Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, third baseman Matt Chapman and designated hitter J.D. Martinez are still on the market.

It was a very different experience last winter, when Bellinger agreed to a one-year, $17.5 million deal with the Cubs in December 2022. He chose to decline his $25 million option for 2024 as well as a qualifying offer of just over $20. Million from Chicago after the attack returns.

Healthy after several years of injuries, Bellinger has regained the form that made him a figure early in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He batted .307 — the highest average of his career — with 26 home runs, 97 RBI and 20 steals in 130 games in 2023.

The offensive contributions of Bellinger, 28, kept the Cubs in the playoff race until they faltered in September. He drove in 48 runs over 45 games between August 1 and September 19.

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Bellinger — the 2019 National League Player of the Year — also provided defensive versatility. He won a Gold Glove in 2019 for his work in center field but also defends very well at first base. He is believed to be an Opening Day starter at center this year, giving prospect Pete Crowe Armstrong more time to fine-tune himself.

After his impressive 2019 campaign, Bellinger has endured injury distress. He had surgery on his right shoulder in November 2020. He hit bottom with a .165 average in 95 games in 2021.

The Dodgers parted ways with Bellinger in November 2022 after he hit .210 with 19 home runs, 150 hits and a .654 OPS in his final season with the team.