Phillies could steal Cody Bellinger away from Cubs
Even though pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a matter of days, some big-time players remain in free agency. One of those players is Cody Bellinger, who shined in his first year with the Chicago Cubs. Rebounding from an injury-riddled end to his tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bellinger was named an All-Star and won the National League Comeback Player of the Year. Now, he is looking to cash in, and teams have yet to give him an offer he couldn't refuse.
The Cubs are still an option to bring Bellinger back. After all, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that "the widespread belief within the industry" is that the Cubs would re-sign Bellinger. But could a team be waiting in the wings?
USA Today's Bob Nightengale relayed in his latest column that several executives believe that the Philadelphia Phillies "could be a sleeper for one of the remaining marquee free agents" in Bellinger and Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Nightengale notes that the Phillies will play the patient waiting game for those players but could increase their pursuit for either player if the price tag drops.
The Phillies, after falling one win short of making it back to the World Series, adding Bellinger would certainly increase their odds to compete and beat the likes of the Atlanta Braves and Dodgers in 2024. Let's not forget that this is a Phillies team that boasts Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola, and Zack Wheeler.
In 130 games this past season, Bellinger recorded a .307 batting average, a .356 on-base percentage, a .525 slugging percentage, 26 home runs, 95 runs, 97 RBI, 153 hits, 87 strikeouts, and 40 walks in 499 at-bats.
The Cubs' main addition this offseason was signing starting Shota Imanaga. Other than that, the Cubs haven't made a big splash, instead making supplementary moves to help fill out the roster. While the team could make that proverbial big splash by re-signing Bellinger, they have to keep their eyes peeled for the Phillies.