Could Cody Bellinger sign a short-term contract with the Cubs?

Could Cody Bellinger sign a short-term contract with the Cubs? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Any day now ... right?

Cubs fans have long awaited the return of one player to their team: Cody Bellinger. As blue-chip MLB free agents continue to drop, without the Cubs signing any --- except Shota Imanaga --- the itch to re-sign Bellinger grows.

Recently, MLB insiders penned their predictions for how each blue-chip player's free agency will end. They all landed on the same answer --- Bellinger will return to the Cubs. But one authored an interesting caveat to his free agency.

"[Scott] Boeck: Chicago Cubs – Bellinger returns to Chicago on a short-term deal despite interest in moving back to Los Angeles to play for the Angels."

The idea of a short-term deal for Bellinger hasn't surfaced much, if at all, this offseason. The one roadblock standing in between a Bellinger-Cubs reunion appears to be his asking price and his desire for a long-term deal.

MLB's Mark Feinsand recently reported Bellinger's asking price is north of $200 million for the entirety of his next contract. Remember, Bellinger's agent is the notorious Scott Boras, known for his stubborn negotiation and big asking prices.

"Ultimately, the widespread belief within the industry is that Bellinger and the Cubs will reunite, but only if/when his asking price comes down," Feinsand recently wrote.

The Cubs handed Bellinger a one-year contract worth $17.5 million last season and he turned it into merit for a massive, long-term deal. But there don't appear to be many interested suitors in his asking price. His free agency might reach a dead end if he doesn't provide any financial flexibility.

Could that motivate both the Cubs and Bellinger to try again on a lucrative, short-term deal? Then, Bellinger can try to earn that coveted long-term deal in another, upcoming free agency.

That's likely a hard sell for Bellinger, however. He dominated with the Cubs last season and rejuvenated his career. He's likely hard-set on getting locked up for maybe the rest of his career.

Last season, Bellinger earned the NL Comeback Player of the Year award, thanks to a steady .307 batting average and .881 OPS. He added 26 home runs and 97 RBIs to his stat sheet and finished the season with a 4.4 WAR. He was rock solid in center field, too.

Sure, Pete Crow-Armstrong's defense in center field is outstanding. But the Cubs need a playmaker at the plate and left-handed hitting. They also need a first baseman, and potentially a designated hitter. Insert Bellinger.

The most recent update from Bellinger's end includes the Los Angeles Angels' reported interest in him. They have significant interest in Bellinger and have met with him and Boras about a future deal, according to David Vassegh on Dodger Talk.

The longer the Cubs sit on their hands and wait for Bellinger to come down from his price, the more likely they miss out on returning their center fielder, according got Vassegh.

"The longer this goes on I feel like the odds of the Cubs keeping Cody Bellinger go down incrementally each day. I wouldn't be surprised if Bellinger doesn't sign until camps open up in a little under a month from now," Vassegh said.

We'll see how Bellinger's free agency unfolds. But the predominant thinking around the league, at this point, is he will re-sign with the Cubs. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reflected as much in the same story.

"Nightengale: Chicago Cubs – It’s a perfect marriage after dating all of last season, and everyone knows it’s going to happen. The only question is who proposes first."

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