According to people familiar with the negotiations, outfielder Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement on a one-year, $17.5 million contract, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ centre fielder Cody Bellinger, 27, kept up his Gold Glove-caliber defence and outstanding speed on the bases last season, but his hitting struggles persisted.

After a 2019 year in which he batted.305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases while contributing 7.7 FanGraphs wins above replacement, he was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player. However, Bellinger’s batting line during the subsequent 295 regular-season games was just.203/.272/.376. He had a.648 OPS from 2020 to 2022, which placed him 299th out of 338 qualifying batters.
David Ross, manager of the Cubs, stated Tuesday from the winter meetings that “he’s a pretty nice match from a viewpoint of it is tremendous defence, outstanding base running, left-handed bat with the potential to have an increase offensively.”Cody Bellinger

After the Dodgers decided not to tender him a contract after the 2022 season, Bellinger entered the free agent market a year early. He was expected to earn somewhere about $18 million in 2023.

Following the recent departures of stars Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez, the Cubs are attempting a quick retooling of their roster. While he tries to prove his worth at the plate, Bellinger gives them a reliable glove in center.

He’s most likely seen as a stand-in for Pete Crow-Armstrong, the prospect they acquired from the New York Mets in exchange for Baez in 2021. Bellinger might assist the Cubs in reaching the postseason for the first time since 2018 if they field a competitive club. In order to create room for Crow-Armstrong, Bellinger may be dealt before the deadline in July if the club struggles and he performs well. The Cubs would have wasted $17.5 million if he kept struggling, but at least it would have been for a single season.

Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, stated earlier on Tuesday that he was receiving multiyear offers for Bellinger but preferred a one-year contract so he could return to the open market after the 2023 season, preferably following a stronger performance than in previous years.

In 2021, Bellinger’s hitting average fell to.165. He played in 144 games for a Dodgers club that established a franchise record with 111 victories last season, hitting.210 with 19 home runs.

Bellinger has a career.248 batting average with 152 home runs, 422 RBIs, and 62 stolen bases in six MLB seasons, all with Los Angeles. The two-time All-Star selection won a World Series ring in 2020 and was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 2017 and the NLCS MVP in 2018.