Cubs rumors: Dylan Cease link, Cody Bellinger latest, catching depth tested

  • Cubs improve catcher depth with Joe Hudson signing
  • Chicago emerges as favorite to land Cody Bellinger
  • Dylan Cease dubbed 'logical target' for Cubs' front office

Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Cubs Rumors: Chicago re-emerges as favorite to land Cody Bellinger

The Cubs are favorites to sign Cody Bellinger, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

"I think the favorite right now has to be the Cubs for Bellinger," Heyman said on B/R Live. "To me, look, the Cubs haven't done anything except for the manager. Do we really expect them to end up doing nothing?"

This is a positive development for Chicago, whose offseason has been slow-moving. The Toronto Blue Jays were pegged as Bellinger favorites shortly after Shohei Ohtani landed on the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the recent re-signing of Gold Glove outfielder Kevin Kiermaier dims the necessity for Bellinger.

The San Francisco Giants are also expected to take interest in Bellinger, whose reported asking price starts at $200 million. His agent, Scott Boras, is comfortable dragging free agency out in search of the biggest contract. Other dark horses could emerge for Bellinger. He's a hot ticket. But, the Cubs have the financial wherewithal to re-sign Bellinger. It's a matter of conviction, as Bellinger appeared to enjoy his first season in Chicago — a remarkable return to form that saw the 28-year-old slash .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBIs in 499 ABs.

There are mild concerns about Bellinger's iffy hard-hit metrics in 2023, but he was Chicago's best player after the All-Star break and the driving force behind the Cubs' failed postseason push. Counsell comes with a mandate to contend, but Chicago has done nothing to improve the roster. If Bellinger is allowed to walk for nothing, the Cubs' ability to improve dwindles significantly. We have seen Bellinger produce at an MVP level before, so last season didn't come out of nowhere. When he's right, Belli-Bombs tend to come in waves. Assuming last season's good health wasn't a complete fluke, the CF/1B should have plenty of prime baseball left in the tank.

Chicago is rumored to want Bellinger back at a price below his exorbitant initial demands. If the Blue Jays and other big-spenders fall out of the mix, Chicago's patience could pay off. Such a strategy has negative downside too, however. If the Cubs don't pay up, there's a chance Bellinger will bolt and leave Chicago frustratingly empty-handed on the offensive end.