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Here's how Dansby Swanson found out Cody Bellinger returned to the Cubs

Here's how Dansby Swanson found out Cody Bellinger returned to the Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Cody Bellinger inked a deal with the Cubs late at night. Reports of his signing surfaced around 2 a.m. CT on Feb. 25.

But with the answer just one accepted call away, Dansby Swanson opted to decline it and go back to sleep.

"I was at a birthday party for Freddie's [Freeman, assuming] kids," Swanson told the media Wednesday. "I saw him [Bellinger] there and he was giving me a hard time just about life. And I go home and I went to bed early that night. And I always leave my phone on loud just in case. And he called me at like 10:30 [p.m.] and I got out of bed [because I] left my phone away from bed. I got out of bed, went over there, saw he was FaceTiming me and I just hung up on him. I didn't even look. I just like clicked it off and I was like 'What does he want?' And then I went to bed.

"And then the next morning, before I'd woken up, he called me again. And then I answered and he told me [that he signed] and I was like 'Maybe I should've answered last night.'"

Note to self: when Bellinger is a free agent and calls you late at night, you answer. Either way, Swanson found out the next morning and the rest is history. Swanson and the team --- who advocated to the front office to bring Bellinger back --- got what they wished for.

The three-year, $80 million deal allows Bellinger to opt out after both the first and second years of the deal, allowing the 28-year-old utility man to test the free agency market once again if he chooses after both the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

The contract would pay Bellinger $30 million in both 2024 and 2025, while paying a salary of $20 million in 2026 if he were to not opt out of the deal, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The nocturnal deal struck between the Cubs' front office and baseball's top agent Scott Boras gives the North Siders the free agent they needed the most the entire offseason, ensuring that a key piece of the middle of the lineup is back.

Bellinger slashed .307/.356/.525 in 2023, a massive improvement from his dismal stat lines in 2021-22, including a 2021 season that saw Bellinger post just a .302 slugging percentage, five points worse than his 2023 batting average.

The length of the deal also offers the Cubs flexibility in future years without having the concern of young talent being possibly blocked by Bellinger. Meanwhile, his presence in the middle of a lineup that will also feature Swanson, Christopher Morel, Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki brings the Cubs offense back to around what it was in 2023.

As a months-long staring contest between the Cubs and Boras has now ended with the Cubs having their cake and eating it too, Jed Hoyer, Carter Hawkins and company successfully waited out the market while gambling on another team not stepping in to sign the former NL MVP.

The time-consuming approach turned out to be fruitful as Cubs fans can look forward to another summer of Belli Bombs.

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