Report: Cubs, Cody Bellinger agree to 3-year, $80 million deal

Report: Cubs, Cody Bellinger agree to 3-year, $80 million deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Cubs have made their long-awaited splash in the wee hours of the morning, signing their best hitter in 2023 in Cody Bellinger to a multi-year contract, according to a report from ESPN's Jeff Passan.

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 utilityman to test the free agency market once again if he chooses after both the 2024 and 2025 season.

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 Passan.

The nocturnal deal struck between the Cubs' front office and baseball's top agent in 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 Dansby 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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