MLB rumors: Shohei Ohtani decision incoming, Bellinger contract timeline, one team going for 'jugular'

  • One team is out for it all at the Winter Meetings
  • Cody Bellinger's contract timeline could be a source of frustration for some teams
  • Shohei Ohtani's decision is coming sooner rather than later, it would appear

Oct 2, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA;  Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Oct 2, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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Cody Bellinger might be a while to sign a contract

If you're most interested in finding out where Cody Bellinger will end up at the end of free agency, you might want to head to hibernation. The way things are pacing now, it doesn't sound like there's an expectation Bellinger will be signed during MLB's Winter Meetings.

Nightengale said that Bellinger's contract would likely take the longest (also mentioning Josh Hader). He's most frequently projected to sign with the Giants and Yankees. Bellinger's dad played in pinstripes and his appetite for a large market could find him back there. The Cubs can't be ruled out entirely, though the price point on Bellinger's deal appears to be a likely prohibitive factor from the Wrigley Field team grabbing him.

What will be curious to see here is how his massive contract ask fits with the expected long timeline. If he does, in fact, take the longest to sign a deal of major players, what teams will even have the budget to fit him in after they've presumably put ink to paper on several other deals? Scott Boras is known for getting his clients paid, and Bellinger proved he can still slug in his prove-it deal with the Cubs.

Perhaps Bellinger will be a contingency prize for a team saving space for Ohtani that doesn't end up securing him. Or, maybe a team like the Yankees or Giants are holding space for him, risking that they'll get him and won't have to pivot to an empty free agency market after the fact.

The Giants and Yankees were faced off for outfield slugger Aaron Judge last offseason, with Judge opting to return to the Yankees. It appears there may be another face-off for the same player this year in Bellinger.