Cubs Rumors: Bellinger’s FA price, Ian Happ regret, untimely injury

  • RHP Michael Fulmer heads to the 15-day injured list
  • Ian Happ's extension looks bad in retrospect
  • Cody Bellinger expected to earn MVP payday
Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

Cubs Rumors: Cody Bellinger is going to get paid in free agency

Cody Bellinger won the MVP after a remarkable 2019 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since then, it has been a rocky road. Bellinger dealt with a shoulder injury, COVID, and a constant stream of setbacks that kept him either off the field or at half-strength.

The Dodgers let him walk last winter and the Cubs scooped him up on a one-year, $17.5 million "prove-it" contract. Well, he proved it. Bellinger has looked more like his MVP self with the Cubbies, taking his batting average from .210 to .317 with a .905 OPS, 20 home runs, 70 RBIs, and only 62 strikeouts in 414 plate appearances.

"He’s just must-watch television at this point," Cubs pitcher Justin Steele told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "Everybody saw what he did in the past. We know what he did. Winning the MVP is not easy, what he did with the Dodgers is nothing short of amazing."

The Cubs weren't really expected to contend in 2023, but a late-season surge has Chicago firmly in the wild card race with an ocean of momentum behind them. Bellinger has been the star of the show, and he's going to get paid accordingly in free agency.

"Demand is often created by rarity," said Scott Boras, Bellinger's agent. "When you have the rarity of age, the skill level, a five-tool player, a Gold Glove center fielder and first baseman who can run, throw, hit, and hit for power, that’s a rare commodity in baseball."

It's hard to argue with any of that. Bellinger is versatile in the field, effective on the base paths, prolific at the plate — he checks every box right now. Boras wouldn't divulge a specific asking price to Nightengale, but he cited the weakness of the upcoming free agent market.

Bellinger isn't going to win MVP with the likes of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman atop the leaderboard, but he's one of the few players who has operated on that level within the last five years. Now, there's reason to believe he can do it on a regular basis when he's healthy.

Be it with the Cubs or somewhere else, Bellinger is about to sign a very lucrative new contract in the winter months.

7 potential Shohei Ohtani free agent fits. dark. Next. 7 potential Shohei Ohtani free agent fits