Cubs, former Dodgers MVP Cody Bellinger agree to deal

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Cubs agree to deal with former MVP Cody Bellinger originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Jed Hoyer said the Monday the Cubs have “a lot of offers” out to free agents, and they’ve now made their first significant roster addition of the winter.

The Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with former Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger, NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer confirmed.

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The deal is for one year and worth $17.5 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Bellinger was projected to make $18.1 million next season in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

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Left-handed hitting and center field were among the Cubs' greatest needs this winter, certainly the latter with top prospects Brennen Davis and Alexander Canario experiencing injury setbacks in 2022

It’s a fresh start for Bellinger, whose agent, Scott Boras said earlier in the day had multi-year offers on the table but was pursuing a one-year deal.

Bellinger, 27, was non-tendered by the Dodgers last month following two underperforming seasons that were in part due to injuries.

He spent his first six seasons with Los Angeles and burst onto the scene in 2017, when he earned NL Rookie of the Year, was named an All-Star and finished ninth in NL MVP voting.

He put together a stellar 2019, winning NL MVP after hitting .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs and 115 RBIs for the Dodgers. He also earned his second All-Star nod that season and took home his first Gold Glove, receiving the honor as an outfielder.

In the 60-game 2020 season, Bellinger dislocated his right (non-throwing) shoulder celebrating a home run in the NLCS. It required surgery and he has not performed well since.

Over the last two seasons, he holds a .193/.256/.355 slash line with 29 homers and 104 RBIs in 239 games.

But with his pedigree, he could be a classic chance-of-scenery guy and is a bounce-back candidate in 2023, assuming his injury issues are behind him. And along with his bat, Bellinger is known as a good defender and baserunner.

"He’s good," said Cubs manager David Ross of Bellinger on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. "Former MVP. He’s got a track record of a lot of success and dynamic defense.

"I remember when he first got into the league, first base, smooth hands. Dynamic center fielder, great outfielder. Hasn’t had the success he had early on, but definitely a lot of potential for a great player."

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