Blue Jays have “emerged as the favourite” to sign Cody Bellinger, who’s seeking “$200 million plus” on contract

Cam Lewis
4 months ago
Here we go again.
According to Bob Nightengale, the Toronto Blue Jays have “emerged as the favourite” to sign outfielder Cody Bellinger while the Chicago Cubs are “still in the hunt” to re-sign the former National League MVP.
There’s no doubt that the Blue Jays are interested in adding Bellinger, considering the team needs another outfielder and a powerful left-handed bat and he checks both of those boxes. But the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes should be a reminder that being a “favourite” or a “finalist” to sign somebody doesn’t mean a contract is going to be signed.
Having a report leak that the Blue Jays or whoever are the favourites to sign Bellinger could ultimately help agent Scott Boras squeeze a bigger offer out of the Cubs. It could also add pressure to the Blue Jays if their fans fall in love with the idea of Bellinger as the team’s fallback signing after missing out on Ohtani.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Bellinger is seeking a contract north of $200 million this winter. He signed a one-year, show-me deal with the Cubs last off-season and rebuilt his value by smashing 26 home runs and 29 doubles with a .307 batting average and an .881 OPS across 556 plate appearances.
Now 28 years old, Bellinger broke into the big leagues with the Dodgers in 2017 with a performance that resulted in him winning Rookie of the Year in the National League. A couple of years later, he won the NL MVP and the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder.
Bellinger slashed a .273/.364/.547 line over his first four seasons in the Majors but injuries led to a significant decline in production. A shoulder injury suffered during Los Angeles’ World Series run in 2020 along with rib and leg issues resulted in Bellinger slashing a paltry .193/.256/.355 line between the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The Dodgers opted to non-tender Bellinger after the latter of those two seasons rather than keeping him at the $18.1 million salary he was projected to earn in arbitration. The Blue Jays were among the teams interested in adding Bellinger as a reclamation project before he signed with the Cubs. After that, they pivoted and signed veterans Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Belt at a similar combined cost to Bellinger’s one-year, $18.5 million deal with Chicago.
Toronto ultimately landing Bellinger after missing out on him earlier would be similar to the storyline of Kevin Gausman. The Blue Jays tried to sign Gausman after he was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds following the 2019 season but he landed with the San Francisco Giants on a one-year deal. After two strong years with the Giants, Gausman again hit the open market and the Blue Jays signed him to a five-year, $110 million deal.


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