The Chase for Cody Bellinger: Who Will Blink First?

After the Ohtani, Soto, Yamamoto frenzies are settled, Cody Bellinger is the big name on the block for MLB teams looking to set their destiny.
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

The offseason has been a rollercoaster of emotions and surprises for baseball fans across the globe. Amidst the whirlwind of transfers and trades, one name has remained constantly unmoored - Cody Bellinger. However, with recent developments, it seems the Yankees have seemingly withdrawn from the race, leaving the Cubs, Blue Jays (?), Red Sox, Brewers and a surprise Miami Marlins team as possible fits.

Bellinger, a renowned left-handed hitter, has been at the center of attention in the Major League Baseball (MLB) offseason. With teams like the Yankees and Giants initially in the race for his signature, the landscape has significantly changed over the past few weeks.

Yankees Step Out of the Dance

The Yankees began the offseason as the odds-on favorite to land Bellinger from the moment the Cubs playoff hopes finished in 2023 -- but sometimes, the odds lie. He is a Yankees legacy, spending time in the clubhouse for the 2000 World Series with Jeter and the boys at just five years old when his father Clay Bellinger was part of the early century Yankee dominance. He has a left-handed swing that makes Yankees fans drool, and the poise and leadership aura that looks fantastic in pinstripes. The former MVP is closing in on 200 HR at just 29 years old,161st and River is where he belongs.

But. After a blockbuster deal that saw the arrival of Juan Soto from the Padres, the Yankees took a step back from the Bellinger pursuit. With an already upgraded outfield featuring Soto, Alex VerdugoAaron Judge, Trent Grisham and a rehabbing Jasson Dominguez, a superstar about to bloom, the Yankees' need for Bellinger's services has significantly diminished.

The Cubs: Playing the Waiting Game

In contrast to the Yankees, the Cubs have chosen a different strategy: patience. The North Siders hope the market will cool down, allowing them to negotiate a deal at the right price. Bellinger's performance with the Cubs has left a positive impression, making him a high priority for the club.

Guiding the Future: Bellinger's Role with Pete Crow-Armstrong (PCA)

The Cubs also have high hopes for their top prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong, who they see as a potential Gold Glove center fielder. With Bellinger acting as a mentor, PCA could have a smoother transition into the majors.

The Cubs are struggling to make a splash this offseason; after missing out on Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto, the Cubbies have a significant gap in their lineup. Given his impressive stats, Bellinger seems like the perfect candidate to fill this void. However, the Cubs' management is wary of getting into a bidding war and aims to negotiate a deal at the right price.

The Marlins: An Unexpected Contender

The Marlins could be the dark horse in the race for Bellinger. The team's youth-filled roster and vibrant atmosphere could give Bellinger the perfect environment to thrive, and they reportedly pursued him before his availability was shut off at the 2023 MLB trade deadline.

Bellinger's signing could be a game-changer for the Marlins. His veteran presence would bring invaluable experience to the team's young and dynamic roster. His ability to play multiple positions and impressive stats make him a highly desirable asset for any team.

The Marlins are known for selling contracts, not setting them, allowing copious number of supe stars like Miguel Cabrera, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and J.T. Realmuto to leave after their first few years. Perhaps this time, Bellinger's agent will view them as a surprise landing spot willing to meet his premium, which no one else is approaching?

The Boras Factor

Scott Boras, Bellinger's agent, is known for his hardball negotiation tactics. His strategy usually involves asking for high figures and holding out until a team meets his demands. However, teams know his methods and are prepared for a drawn-out negotiation.

The pursuit of Cody Bellinger has turned into a captivating saga, with the Yankees seemingly bowing out and the Blue Jays and Cubs remaining as the primary contenders, with the Marlins as an intriguing dark horse. As the offseason progresses, it will be interesting to see who blinks first in this high-stakes game of baseball chess. Whether Bellinger decides to stay with the Cubs or venture into a new journey, one thing is certain - the team that signs him is bound to make headlines.