DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 13: Cody Bellinger #24 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates in the dugout after hitting a first inning RBI sacrifice fly against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 13, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Cody Bellinger Sweepstakes Down to These 3 MLB Teams

As the baseball world waits patiently to see where Yoshinobu Yamamoto will sign, other MLB free agents still need a home. One of them includes outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.

Earlier in the week, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that the Toronto Blue Jays appeared to be favorites to land the left-handed slugger. It still seems as if we're not close to a resolution on a contract for the 2019 NL MVP Award winner, though. During a Bleacher Report livestream, the New York Post's Jon Heyman mentioned three teams that could be in the running for Bellinger: the Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.

It's easy to see why Toronto is still hot on his trail. They were in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes until the bitter end and could use a left-handed hitter to balance their lineup. The Jays could also immediately slot him into center field, and his defensive versatility could help keep Vladimir Guerrero Jr. fresh at first base.

The Cubs signed Bellinger to a one-year, $17.5 million deal last winter. They watched the NL Comeback Player of the Year rebound in a big way after three tough seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs, 20 steals, 97 RBIs and 95 runs scored. Outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong will be in the big leagues soon enough, but Bellinger sticking around in the Windy City would allow Chicago to not rush Crow-Armstrong up to The Show.

Having the Giants included in this trio is interesting because of their actions thus far this winter. They also pursued Ohtani before he signed with the Dodgers, and then they pivoted to signing outfielder Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million deal. San Francisco is also in the hunt for rotation upgrades, which includes currently being in the running for Yamamoto. If they whiff on the right-hander, there are plenty of other starting pitchers on the open market to pursue. The Giants have already been connected recently to two-time Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

It seems as if there might not be a natural fit in San Francisco, but Bellinger's versatility with the glove could make it easier for manager Bob Melvin to deal with.

Bellinger is a Scott Boras client, and the MLB super-agent has set a lofty price tag for interested teams. ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported they're looking for more than $200 million and aren't interested in budging right now. The outfielder's free agency could drag on for a bit, but it seems like the top of his market is defined by a handful of front-runners.

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