Report: Cody Bellinger returns to Cubs on three-year, $80M deal

Former National League MVP Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a three-year, $80 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Passan reports that Bellinger will earn $30 million in 2024, $30 million in 2025 and $20 million in 2026. Bellinger also has opt-out options after each of the first two years of the contract.

The 28-year-old Bellinger was the top impact bat left on the free agent market and returns to the Cubs after playing on a one-year, $17.5 million deal last season. He was one of four superstars represented by agent Scott Boras who remained unsigned as spring training began and his signing could have ripple effects for the outfield market.

Bellinger put together a bounce-back season in Chicago, hitting .307 with 26 home runs, 97 RBIs and 20 stolen bases while providing elite defence in centre field and at first base. He finished 10th in NL MVP voting and won the NL’s utility Silver Slugger.

Over the two previous seasons with the Dodgers, Bellinger battled injury and underperformance, hitting .193 and seeing his strikeout rate jump nearly six per cent from his career totals. He underwent surgery on his right shoulder in November 2020.

Originally a fourth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2013, Bellinger is a two-time all-star, the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year and former NL Gold Glove winner in right field. He won the NL MVP in 2019.

In seven MLB seasons, Bellinger has slashed .258/.335/.493 with 178 home runs, 519 RBIs and 82 stolen bases over 875 games. He has also appeared in 69 career post-season games — all with Los Angeles — and helped the Dodgers to the 2020 World Series title.

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