MLB Rumors: Cody Bellinger backup plan, Francisco Alvarez extension, Ryu leaves MLB

  • The Chicago Cubs might have a backup plan if they lose Cody Bellinger.
  • Are the New York Mets closing in on a Francisco Alvarez extension?
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is heading back to Korea.

Chicago Cubs v New York Mets
Chicago Cubs v New York Mets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: What's the Cubs backup plan if they don't sign Cody Bellinger?

The Chicago Cubs remain the favorites to sign Cody Bellinger, but that's been the case for months now. Recent comments by Tom Ricketts prove the Cubs and Bellinger remain far apart in negotiations. The Cubs have yet to make an official offer, and Bellinger's asking price was around $200 million when free agency began. It's unclear if that price has come down as the winter has progressed.

Scott Boras is determined to get all of his clients top dollar. At some point, though, Bellinger will have to meet the Cubs halfway if he hopes to remain in Chicago. Should another team knock his socks off with the offer he prefers, he'll sign elsewhere.

Chicago doesn't have an ideal center field fit besides Bellinger at the moment. Pete Crow-Armstrong could develop into that player. He's already an elite defensive talent, but the Cubs would prefer to get him more time in the minors before asking him to fill that role. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic floated a couple of Bellinger backup plans for interested teams that won't cost nearly as much:

"The delays, then, seem to boil down to pure economics, clubs’ valuations differing from Boras’. And the effect is trickling down to other free agents. Two hitters, Adam Duvall and Tommy Pham, appear to be backup plans for teams that miss out on Bellinger and Chapman," Rosenthal wrote in his most recent column (subscription required).

Both Pham and Duvall are solid enough players, and a manager like Craig Counsell could get the most out of them. Pham is the better defender of the two, but Duvall offers elite power at his best and won a World Series with the Atlanta Braves. The duo are expected to receive more interest as Opening Day nears, especially if players like Bellinger don't lower their price tag.