If the Cubs can’t bring back Cody Bellinger in 2025, these 3 players can replace him

If the Chicago Cubs can't re-sign Cody Bellinger next offseason, fret not. There are replacements.

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs finally re-signed Cody Bellinger to a three-year, $80 million contract after a months-long staring contest. The catch? Bellinger can opt out after the 2024 season, setting himself up for another run at long-term guaranteed money if he can replicate 2023's success.

That puts stress on Chicago, as Bellinger essentially holds all the cards. If he doesn't play up to expectations, he can stick around and milk their financial resources for three years. If he excels, the Cubs will face another Scott Boras offseason. That's never fun.

It's difficult to overstate Bellinger's value to Chicago last season. He was the team's MVP, the reason the Cubs were so close to a postseason berth. He slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI in 499 AB. For a team lacking in the power department, Bellinger's ability to drive in runs is paramount.

That said, if the Cubs do lose him, it's not the end of the world. Especially if the front office is aggressive in search of alternatives. Let's just say that, hypothetically, Bellinger parlays a successful 2024 season into a lucrative contract with another club. Here's the ideal three-pronged approach to replacing him.

3. Cubs can promote Pete Crow-Armstrong to MLB roster

It has been a difficult spring training for Pete Crow-Armstrong, which could push his full-time MLB onboarding until next season. Even so, the 21-year-old remains an essential part of the Cubs' future. He's an elite glove in centerfield, which the speed to torture pitchers on the base paths. All Chicago is waiting on is a more consistent presence in the batter's box.

Crow-Armstrong played 34 games with Triple-A Iowa last season, where he is expected to begin the 2024 campaign. He slashed .289/.371/.527 with six home runs, 22 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in 298 AB. The bat-to-ball skills are solid. It's a matter of generating more pop and translating his success to the next level, which is the ultimate challenge for any prospect.

Defense will keep Crow-Armstrong on the Cubs' radar all season, though. Chicago tends to place a premium on high-level gloves, so PCA fits the organizational M.O. He won't get expensive for a while either, which helps. The upside and affordability factor makes him the simplest plug-and-play replacement for Bellinger.

That said, he's nowhere close to Belli on offense, and that gap won't close any time soon — if ever. Chicago needs to put in the work in free agency to add more pop to the lineup.