MLB Rumors: 4 teams Phillies could devastate with late-free agency splash

If the Philadelphia Phillies can land a big fish late in free agency, it's safe to say a few teams will be upset.

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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2. Phillies can dash Cubs' postseason aspirations

The Chicago Cubs started the offseason with a bang, signing Craig Counsell to the most lucrative managerial contract in league history. From there, it was an unexpectedly quiet few months for Jed Hoyer's club. Chicago finally landed a big-ticket free agent in the form of Shota Imanaga, but all eyes are on Cody Bellinger. The 28-year-old remains unsigned.

Bellinger is demanding a long-term deal worth north of $200 million. That is a lot, but his résumé certainly stacks up — Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger, and 2019 National League MVP. Bellinger arrived in Chicago last season and the signing proved revelatory. He slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI in 499 AB. The Cubs were on the brink of postseason contention with Bellinger as the primary catalyst behind their success.

There are concerns about the volatility and longevity of Bellinger's production after his rocky 2021 and 2022 campaigns in Los Angeles, but Bellinger's broader track record is impossible to overlook. If the Cubs don't rise up to meet Bellinger's asking price, there's reason to believe another team can — and will — outbid them. Perhaps that team is Philadelphia. The Phillies should be concerned about the downside risk, too, but Bellinger would be surrounded by elite bats and rock-solid infrastructure. We saw Trea Turner overcome his early-season struggles in 2023. Bellinger should be able to find his groove in Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies should feel good about Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas in the outfield, but either can be swapped out for Bellinger in a heartbeat. So long as the price is reasonable, Bellinger can help the Phillies reinforce their unique intimidation factor in the batter's box. Few MLB hitters work the count better than Bellinger. He would meaningfully improve the Phillies' already-great offense — all while putting the Cubs' bid for a postseason berth in serious jeopardy.