MLB rumors: Bellinger extension, Rays target a pitcher, Dodgers struggling infielder

Cody Bellinger, MLB rumors (Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)
Cody Bellinger, MLB rumors (Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cody Bellinger, Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Cubs (Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports) /

Cody Bellinger extension appearing increasingly unlikely for Cubs

Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs signed a one-year deal that worked for both sides this winter. For the Cubs, it got them stopgap talent in the outfield with short-term sunk costs and commitment if the former MVP’s batting woes continued to be pervasive.

For Bellinger, it gave him a year of certain earnings to rebuild his reputation and prove to himself as well as general managers that he can still hack it.

Prove that he has, with his reputation coming to a season-high this weekend in the Bronx. In an interleague series against the Yankees, Bellinger not only lead the Cubs to their first-ever road victory in franchise history against the Yanks, but he’s also gone 2-for-7 with a home run in the first two games.

Ironically, the Yankees are a team that could certainly use Bellinger’s defensive presence in the outfield as well as the .298/.353/.493 slash line he’s producing this season. Those numbers would rank first, second, and second on the team, respectively among qualified players if he were on the Yankees. He’d be a runner-up to Aaron Judge in the latter two metrics.

Chicago does not seem overly willing to trade Bellinger, as much as it might seem to make sense to do so, though. The team has repeatedly said they felt they can be more competitive with the team they have, and that may lead to the team holding on to trade chips like Marcus Stroman and Bellinger, both of whom have outs on their contracts after this season.

The other option for both players is an in-season extension. Reportedly, the Cubs aren’t interested in extending Stroman, and it seems as though they’re uninterested in any more midseason extensions. Ian Happ received an extension early in the season, but since then, the Cubs have not altered any contracts substantially.

Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic pointed out that Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, is also unlikely to negotiate a midseason extension (subscription required) since Boras encourages his clients to wait for the open market to gain more leverage and power at the bartering table.

Bellinger might be a sought-after player, but the Cubs could very well end up hanging on for dear life to the remainder of his one-year deal. The trade deadline is August 1, and the Cubs will need to decide how likely they feel it is they’ll be able to be competitive. If a miss on playoff positioning seems likely, it would figure that Bellinger, sans an extension, should be on the move.

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