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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2. Cubs can target Anthony Rizzo to anchor heart of lineup

The Anthony Rizzo experience in New York has been a thoroughly mixed bag. There's a real chance the Yankees decide to balk at his $17 million club option for next season. If that does indeed happen, the 34-year-old should vault to the top of Chicago's priorities list. It's only natural, after all.

Rizzo was traded from Chicago to New York back in 2021. The talented lefty spent the best years of his career at Wrigley Field, earning three straight All-Star appearances from 2014-16. He also has four Gold Glove awards to his name at first base. Even in his current state, with questions of age and durability swirling, Rizzo can belt homers and effectively defend the corner.

Bellinger will spend a lot of time at first base. The Cubs can easily slide PCA into the outfield rotation, but first base immediately becomes a position of relative weakness if Belli leaves. There are splashier options out there — Pete Alonso and Paul Goldschmidt come to mind — but the Cubs can only truly afford one mega-star if their spending history is any indication. More on that in a second.

With Rizzo, the Cubs can probably strike up a reasonably affordable short-term deal to reunite with a beloved former player. The fanbase would be 100 percent behind this move, which shouldn't necessarily inform the front office, but it's nice to avoid an uprising. Health uncertainty will plague Rizzo for the rest of his career, but he drilled 32 home runs the season before last. When he's right, he's still a perfectly useful cleanup threat.