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Feb. 26: Will Cubs make another big signing soon?
The oft-rumored Cubs-Cody Bellinger reunion finally materialized over the weekend. But the Cubs may not be done adding to their lineup. The North Siders have been linked to third baseman Matt Chapman throughout the offseason and according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, "it would be foolish to close the door" on an agreement between the two sides.
"The Cubs’ payroll remains beneath the first Competitive Balance Tax threshold, though signing Chapman would likely push them past the $237 million mark," Feinsand wrote. "If Chapman is willing to take a deal with the same structure as Bellinger -- albeit likely with a lower AAV and total guarantee -- then the Cubs could still be in play for the third baseman if they were willing to surpass that first threshold."
The Cubs have a handful of candidates to man the hot corner. However, Chapman is a much better defender at third base than Christopher Morel or Patrick Wisdom, and his bat is exponentially more powerful than Nick Madrigal's.
The Mariners and Giants are a couple of other clubs who have reportedly expressed interest in 30-year-old slugger recently.
Feb. 19: Bellinger has had 'some discussions' with Cubs
Cody Bellinger, last season's National League Comeback Player of the Year with the Cubs, remains unsigned with only a few days remaining before the season's first Spring Training games. The Cubs' first game is Friday afternoon. A reunion has been viewed as likely, but it doesn't appear as if anything is too close to the finish line. On Monday, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that the two sides have had "some discussions, but it hasn't become a negotiation yet." More >
Jan. 27: Do Cubs have a big move in store to address their offense?
The Cubs have made multiple moves to address their pitching staff this month, signing Japanese lefty Shōta Imanaga to a four-year deal on Jan. 11 before reportedly reaching a one-year deal with reliever Hector Neris on Saturday. However, Chicago still has work to do before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in mid-February.
While they traded for infielder Michael Busch (MLB Pipeline's No. 44 overall prospect), the Cubs have yet to add a proven bat to their lineup, which has a huge hole after Cody Bellinger became a free agent. Some Cubs have already voiced their desire to play with Bellinger again in 2024. Chicago has been connected to free-agent third baseman Matt Chapman as well and was also linked to first baseman Rhys Hoskins before he signed with the rival Brewers.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman said Wednesday in an appearance on Bleacher Report that he thinks Bellinger is more likely than not to end up back with the Cubs even though the two sides have yet to find common ground.
"At this point, I do believe [Bellinger to the Cubs] is the likelihood," Heyman said. "I'm not saying it's a guarantee in any way. I'll just say I would think they're probably the favorites at this moment. I don't want to say they're likely, that's probably overstating it. But we'll say the Cubs are favorites for Bellinger."
Chicago's acquisition of Busch is especially intriguing as it relates to the team's free-agent pursuits, with The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma (subscription required) reporting that Busch is expected to enter Spring Training as the team's primary first baseman.
The Cubs have been pursuing Cody Bellinger, the top first-base options on the first-agent market this offseason, but the move to land Busch could cause Chicago to focus its resources elsewhere, perhaps toward signing third baseman Matt Chapman or starter Jordan Montgomery, two other free agents to whom the Cubs have recently been connected.
Bellinger played center field more often than first base for the Cubs in 2023, but as Sharma notes, the team considers top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 12 overall) to be its center fielder of the future. So if they do re-sign Bellinger, it would likely be as a first baseman.