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#pounditWednesday, April 17, 2024

Cody Bellinger agrees on big deal to return to Cubs

Cody Bellinger in a Cubs hat looking on

Apr 28, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) returns to the dugout after the third inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Bellinger’s long winter wait is finally over.

Jeff Passan of ESPN broke the news late Saturday night that the free-agent outfielder Bellinger has agreed on a three-year, $80 million deal to return to the Chicago Cubs. The deal also contains opt-outs after each of the first two seasons, Passan notes. It will be worth $30 million in 2024 as well as $30 million in 2025 and $20 million in 2026 (if Bellinger does not exercise any of his opt-outs).

The former NL MVP Bellinger, 28, now officially returns to the team where he enjoyed a career resurgence in 2023. He hit a career-high .307 with 26 home runs, 97 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases on the year. Bellinger also became a major fan favorite, and Cubs fans had been loudly petitioning the team for weeks now to bring him back.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts had hinted just a few days ago that negotiations on a potential deal with Bellinger had not gotten very far (as the team was content with waiting out the market instead of bidding against themselves). But the fans can rejoice now that the two sides have finally reached a deal.

In the end, Bellinger does not quite get the massive dollar figure that he had reportedly been hoping for. But he still gets an impressive annual salary as well as the opportunity to do this all over again in 2025 or in 2026 should Bellinger produce a strong platform year.

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