Most obvious reason to avoid re-signing Cody Bellinger has finally emerged

The longer Cody Bellinger continues to wait, the more likely it is that teams will continue to avoid signing him.

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Spring Training is a time for fans to get their first glimpse of players, old and new, who will be contributing to their team's roster ahead of the season. Wins and losses don't matter, but it's still an exciting time to watch star players for the first time in months.

Any Blake Snell start or Cody Bellinger at-bat would be must-see TV whether they stayed with their respective team or left, just because of how electric they are as players. Unfortunately, no fan base gets to enjoy watching those two (and many more) players play because they remain unsigned. Yes, we're into late February and several of the game's best players are without contracts for the 2024 season, most of the notable ones being represented by agent Scott Boras.

One of the more polarizing players of this offseason's free agency class was Bellinger who looked like his former MVP self with the Chicago Cubs, but that was off the heels of two dreadful years with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the two seasons prior.

Bellinger is looking to get paid like the star he was in 2023, while teams are clearly worried to an extent that he might revert back to the player he was at the end of his Dodgers tenure. As we inch closer to Opening Day, those fears might only continue to worsen.

The more Cody Bellinger waits to get signed, the more unappealing he gets

Simply put, Bellinger was one of the best players in the National League this past season for the Cubs. He slashed .307/.326/.525 with 26 home runs and 79 RBI, tacking on 20 stolen bases and his usual elite defense at both first base and center field. Bellinger took home a Silver Slugger and finished tenth in the NL MVP balloting, an award he won prior to his implosion with the Dodgers. He was a huge reason why the Cubs came as close as they did to making it back to the postseason for the first time in a full season (excluding 2020) since 2018.

For as good as he was in a Cubs uniform, Bellinger had just a 66 OPS+ in his previous two years with the Dodgers, performing like one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. Struggles to that extent just cannot be ignored, yet the duo of Bellinger and Scott Boras seems to think this past season wiped all concerns away.

With Spring Training already underway, Bellinger has lost some valuable time to gear up for the 2024 campaign. Fewer opportunities to get in games ahead of Opening Day make it more likely for the 28-year-old to potentially fall back into some bad habits and potentially not be fully ready for when the season begins.

Whether the deal Bellinger signs is for the long-term or short-term, he becomes significantly more unappealing the longer he waits. Teams will not want an unprepared Bellinger when their season begins. It's time for Bellinger to sign somewhere before he continues to deplete his value and end up losing even more money.

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