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News and Notes: Cody Bellinger wants $200 million, a Yoshinobu Yamamoto update, and more!

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Photo credit:© Brett Davis - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
3 months ago
News and Notes time, baby.
We’re nearly two months into the off-season and only eight weeks away from spring training, yet the Blue Jays are one of only a few teams that have yet to sign a player. What are they cooking?

Bellinger wants money:

After three great seasons to begin his career, Bellinger struggled in the next three. However, he joined the Chicago Cubs before the start of the 2023 season and had success, slashing .307/.356/.525 with 26 homers in 556 plate appearances for a 134 wRC+, the third highest in his career. Moreover, Bellinger had a 4.1 fWAR, the second-highest mark aside from his MVP-winning 2019.
Now entering free agency after a good season, Scott Boras, Bellinger’s agent, is looking for a deal “well over $200 million”, per an ESPN article from Jesse Rogers.
There’s no doubt that Bellinger is going to sign a nine-figure deal, and I’d even be comfortable going up to around $200 million, but after coming off three rough seasons in 2020, 2021, and 2022, there may be better options for far less.
It’s also worth noting that he may not sign until at least a month until the new year.

Predictions for Bellinger:

In the past few days, several reputable journalists have predicted that Bellinger would land with the Blue Jays. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand predicts that he’ll sign a seven-year deal worth $182 million, or $26 million a season. This is the ballpark that I’d be okay with.
 
TheScore has a much worse prediction, as they have Bellinger signing an eight-year, $210 million deal, worth $26.25 million a season. However, they believe he’ll have to player options in 2025 and 2027, which is an automatic nope from me.
Despite some soft contact in 2023, Bellinger is still a great player and can give you 25+ home runs a season, as long as he stays healthy.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto may not have visited Toronto:

MassLive’s Chris Cotillo recently Tweeted that Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s east coast trip was only to New York. Does that not include Toronto? Not entirely sure.
It’s been reported in the past that Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins himself went to Japan to watch Yamamoto pitch. Furthermore, the 25-year-old potential ace has connections to the city, as he sent his assistant and best friend to Toronto to take English classes, according to Jeff Passan.
 
Moreover, former Blue Jay Jacob Waguespack, the ace of the 2019 team post Marcus Stroman trade at the deadline, pitched with Yamamoto for two seasons, and considers him a close friend. Perhaps he said nice things about Toronto.

The Sportsnet article:

On Tuesday evening, Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote an article for Sportsnet that linked the Blue Jays to several free agents.
While the New York Mets, New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the frontrunners to land Yamamoto, the Blue Jays have been linked to him as well, even if it’s unlikely they have a shot to land him.
Of course, Ben Nicholson-Smith also linked the Jays to Bellinger, and also noted that agent Boras is a big reason why this off-season is going so slow. They are of course, looking to bring back Matt Chapman, as the third base market is rather weak.
There are designated hitters a plenty in free agency, and the Jays have some interest in J.D. Martinez, Rhys Hoskins (who plays first base as well), Justin Turner, and a few others. It may be time for the Blue Jays to sign a full-time designated hitter, and Jorge Soler is the best of the bunch, but he isn’t mentioned here.
Interestingly, Nicholson-Smith also mentioned Willy Adames in this article.
Hopefully this off-season gets moving sooner rather than later.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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