Dansby Swanson draws line in the sand for Cubs with Cody Bellinger

Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Now that the Chicago Cubs have made their first big move of the 2023-24 offseason, fans are hoping that the floodgates are about to open in Wrigleyville and that Jed Hoyer is going to be cutting a number of big checks.

That first signing, of course, was landing Japanese veteran starting pitcher Shota Imanaga. This is also a team that could still make a number of big moves, perhaps for Blake Snell or another ace on the trade block, while also bringing in another big bat as Rhys Hoskins has been connected to the Cubs for months now.

However, the first order of business in the minds of fans has long been re-signing Cody Bellinger, who signed a one-year deal with Chicago and got back to his MVP-caliber form. Now a free agent after not exercising his option, though, the fact that the Cubs haven't re-signed him already is a source of anxiety among fans. But apparently, his teammates in the Windy City fill the same.

During an appearance at CubsCon -- the team's fan fest in the winter -- shortstop Dansby Swanson drew a line in the sand for his front office, saying that before anything happens this season, Chicago needs to re-sign Bellinger.

Dansby Swanson lays down the law for Cubs: Re-sign Cody Bellinger

Swanson, who signed a seven-year, $177 million pact with the Cubs last offseason, knows that the organization has the money to spend as they just did so with him last year. He also knows how valuable the former NL MVP, Bellinger, is to the offense in Chicago. So while he might not have any leverage like holding out or even demanding a trade, he's clearly giving an ultimatum for Hoyer to act on.

Bellinger, at 28 years old, was signed to a one-year deal for 2023 by the Cubs as a low-risk gamble following two years of immense struggles with his former club, the Los Angeles Dodgers. He bounced back with one of the best years of his career, slashing .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs, 29 doubles, 97 RBI and a career-high 20 stolen bases.

As for why bringing Bellinger back to Chicago hasn't happened yet, it starts with the price tag. Bellinger's agent, the infamous Scott Boras, is known to be patient in order to get top dollar. Moreover, with a limited number of impact bats available in free agency, the suitors for the outfielder are numerous. Thus, the Cubs have been among a hefty amount of competition.

It's clear, however, that both the fan base and the core of the roster want one thing: Bellinger back in the lineup for the 2024 season. Now it's on the front office to make that happen, perhaps no matter the price.

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