Fractured finger could keep trade candidate Belli out past Deadline

July 11th, 2024 is keeping track of all the latest Cubs-related free agent and trade rumors right here.

July 11: Trade candidate Belli to IL with fractured finger
Cody Bellinger was placed on the 10-day injured list with a non-displaced fracture of his finger on Thursday, potentially removing one of the Cubs' top trade chips from the equation with a few weeks to go before the July 30 Trade Deadline.

It's not a given that the Cubs will sell, of course. The team entered Thursday 3 1/2 games out in the National League Wild Card race with a 44-49 record.

Bellinger, though, had been drawing interest from multiple teams prior to his injury. According to a report from Jim Bowden of The Athletic (subscription required), the Cubs have talked to the Phillies, Braves, Astros and Mariners about Bellinger.

The 28-year-old can test free agency this offseason if he opts out of the final two years on his three-year, $80 million contract.

June 27: Slumping Cubs headed for Trade Deadline sale?
After missing the postseason by one game in 2023, the Cubs entered this season with serious playoff aspirations, having brought back Cody Bellinger in free agency in addition to signing pitcher Shota Imanaga. However, Chicago’s season has gone south over the past two months, and FanGraphs gave the team just a 9.4% chance of making the playoffs after Wednesday’s loss.

The Cubs have gone 20-35 since April 27, posting the National League’s lowest winning percentage (.364) in that time. They entered Thursday 11 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central and five games out in the race for the third NL Wild Card spot.

If they continue to struggle, the Cubs will likely be sellers prior to the Trade Deadline on July 30. The problem for Chicago, though, is that the club doesn’t have many obvious trade candidates on its roster.

Most of the Cubs’ players are signed to long-term deals or controllable beyond 2024, and rentals such as starter Kyle Hendricks (6.87 ERA) and catcher Yan Gomes (.421 OPS) are struggling. The same goes for reliever Héctor Neris (4.55 ERA, 6.8 BB/9), who has a 2025 club option for $9 million.

It would make sense for the Cubs to shop Bellinger, who can opt out to test free agency again this offseason. However, the left-handed slugger is not having as good of a season as he did last year, and other teams might not be too keen to add a player who has $50 million coming to him over the next two years if he doesn’t opt out.