The Chicago Cubs are less than a month away from taking the field in their first spring training game of 2024. But before they travel to Mesa, Arizona for the spring, they have plenty of work to do.
The Cubs' big free agency move of the offseason (so far) was signing Japanese pitcher Shota Imanaga to a 4-year deal worth $53 million (with some stipulations). They also made a big trade with the Los Angeles Dodger to acquire MLB top-10 third base prospect Michael Busch. Other than that, it's been pretty quiet on the North Side.
Many believe (and hope) the Cubs are not done yet with their offseason moves, but the clock is ticking. Now that the division rival Milwaukee Brewers have taken a potential target off the board, the Cubs know what they need to do.
Time for the Cubs to go all-in on Bellinger
After reports confirming free agent first baseman Rhys Hoskins has signed with the division rival Milwaukee Brewers, all eyes are focused on the stare down between the Cubs and free agent Cody Bellinger.
Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic wrote (Subscription Required) about how the signing of Hoskins in Milwaukee impacts Chicago moving forward. An interesting piece of this is Hoskins and Bellinger are both represented by baseball's super-agent, Scott Boras. It's possible that Boras having Hoskins sign first puts the Cubs behind the 8-ball in negotiations with Bellinger, as this takes a "back up plan" off the board for them.
The Cubs want Bellinger, Bellinger wants the Cubs, and someone is going to have to give in at some point to meet the other. The reality is that Chicago desperately needs a left-handed power bat to add to their lineup, which makes it no surprise Sharma said Belli is at the "top" of the Cubs' "list of targets" right now.
The fans have made it obvious they want Bellinger back in the lineup, too. Jed Hoyer has said he wants Bellinger in Chicago. Bellinger has said he wants to be with the Cubs. All this lines up with a deal getting done.
But the Cubs need to not sit around too long on this, because the Toronto Blue Jays are lurking in the distance, potentially ready to pay up.
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