Cody Bellinger is certainly off to a hot start following the All-Star break.
The Cubs center fielder had another big day at the plate against the Red Sox, going 2-for-4, with one of those hits being a grand slam, in a 10-4 win. The game prior, Bellinger also had two hits, both leaving the yard.
Bellinger seems to be showing signs of the form he displayed that led him to win an MVP.
"It's awesome to see Belli back to that MPV Belli. I kind of said it in spring training, a change of scenery, it kind of can be a great thing for guys," Marcus Stroman said. "He's still that same player. Just because you have an up-and-down few years, people don't understand when you have that MPV type of mentality inside of you and you have a great process and you have a great routine, it's only a matter of time before you're going to be at the pinnacle of your game again."
The Cubs took a flyer on Bellinger, signing him to a one-year deal before the start of the season, with the hope he would stay healthy and have a bounce back season. Bellinger was putting up some decent numbers before he suffered an injury on May 16 against the Houston Astros.
The injury landed him on the IL, keeping him out of action for a month.
While it's only been two games since the break, he seems to be picking up where he left off.
Stroman wasn't the only one who had kind words for Bellinger. David Ross did the same but made sure to also emphasize what Bellinger's brought off the field.
"He's been more than expected, I think, since he's been here," Ross said. "He's the total package, right? Defense, the clubhouse presence, the at-bat, the power showing up. I think he's leading our team in OPS versus lefties. Put a lot of work into the offseason, make some adjustments, he came here to prove the player that he was and he's proving it."
Those certainly sound like the words of a manager who would like to keep hold of Bellinger.
Whether the Cubs will or not remains to be seen. Similar to Stroman's situation, the Cubs find themselves stuck in the middle, still unsure if they are sellers or buyers.
In a weak NL Central, they may believe they're in the thick of it despite being 6 1/2 games back.
Bellinger signed a one-year deal but with a mutual option for 2024. Again, his future with the Cubs will depend on where the team is in the standings as the trade deadline approaches.