Cody Bellinger

Best fits & contract projection for Cody Bellinger in 2023 MLB free agency

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For Cody Bellinger, free agency in 2023 could end up being the highlight of his career. After winning MVP in 2019 and a World Series in 2020, Bellinger endured some rough seasons late in his tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But after getting a chance with the Chicago Cubs in 2023, Bellinger got his career back on track, hitting .307 with an OPS of .881 while winning NL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

Bellinger is now among the best players available among the upcoming free agents after declining a $25 million option for 2024. Instead, he figures to sign a lucrative contract this offseason.

Cody Bellinger free agency 2023

As a 28-year-old former MVP with postseason experience who’s coming off a productive 2023 campaign, Bellinger’s contract projection is among the highest in baseball this winter. Even with the MLB offseason in its infancy, there are already offseason predictions about where Bellinger will end up and how much his new contract will be worth. Let’s take a closer look at Cody Bellinger’s free agency in 2023, including the best fits 


While signing a frontline pitcher appears to be Philly’s top priority, they can’t be totally ignored in the Bellinger sweepstakes. After deep postseason runs in consecutive years, the Phils no doubt feel as if they’re close to winning a championship, so adding a player like Bellinger could be on their radar.

Keep in mind that Bryce Harper’s future in the outfield is at least questionable, freeing up a spot in the Philadelphia outfield for Bellinger, who could also play first base if Harper returns to the outfield. Either way, unless the Phillies think Johan Rojas is their future center fielder, Bellinger should be on Philly’s radar.



The Astros are probably more of a dark horse for Bellinger than an obvious candidate, but the club does have a history of being aggressive in the pursuit of top players. There’s certainly a vacancy in the Houston outfield with Bellinger able to move to first base at some point given Jose Abreu’s age and struggles this past season.

If Houston’s plan is to reload rather than try to rebuild after watching the Rangers win the World Series, the Astros could make a strong push for Bellinger.


San Diego has become a potential destination for all of the big-time free agents now that the Padres are free spenders. After a disappointing season in 2023, they might be even more willing to throw money at a player like Bellinger.

Bringing in the former Dodger to help them topple Los Angeles in the NL West feels like a natural strategy. Plus, the Padres could put Bellinger at first base or put him in the outfield while looking to trade Juan Soto to help replenish their farm system. While not the most obvious candidate, the Padres can’t be ruled out.

Blue Jays

With Toronto set to lose Matt Chapman, there is a need for a left-handed power hitter like Bellinger. The Blue Jays are also losing defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier in center field.


That creates the possibility of flanking Bellinger with Daulton Varsho and George Springer in the Toronto outfield. That alignment doesn’t sound so bad offensively or defensively. The Jays have had some success luring free agents to Canada, although whether they’re prepared to compete financially with some of Bellinger’s other suitors remains to be seen. 


Needless to say, the Cubs have no complaints about what they got out of Bellinger last season. With the addition of manager Craig Counsell, they look like a team that’s ready to spend big this winter.

That should make keeping Bellinger their top priority since their lineup looks different without him. With multiple additions needed, Chicago may not be willing to go as high as some other teams in terms of price. But there’s no doubt the Cubs will work hard to keep Bellinger in the Windy City.


After an endlessly disappointing 2023 campaign, it seems reasonable to think that the Yankees will be looking to make a big splash this winter.

There’s also no question that a left-handed power hit to complement and protect Aaron Judge is needed. Bellinger would be an ideal solution with the short fence in right field at Yankee Stadium. Some have suggested that the Yanks try to trade for Juan Soto. However, it’s more realistic for the Yankees to try throwing cash at Bellinger before exploring the trade market.


The Giants have tried hard in recent years to sign a big-time free agent, coming close with Carlos Correa last year. The possibility of bringing a castaway from the Dodgers to San Francisco could make them even more eager to outbid everyone else for Bellinger.

If the Giants go after another big-time free agent, they’ll surely prioritize an impact bat over a pitcher, putting Bellinger at the top of their wish list.

Cody Bellinger contract projection

With several suitors, including a few who have no problem throwing money around, Bellinger stands to sign a massive deal. For some comparison, center fielder Brandon Nimmo earned an eight-year, $162 million contract last season. While the market changes from year to year, Nimmo’s contract isn’t even a baseline for what Bellinger could earn.

While Nimmo is a quality player with great intangibles, he’s never even been an all-star and hit free agency one year older than Bellinger is now. Meanwhile, Bellinger is a two-time all-star, a former MVP, and has more power than Nimmo. At a minimum, Bellinger should get an eight-year deal worth at least $200 million. However, if there are two or three teams that are intent on signing him, he could potentially sign get a deal of 10 years or more that’s worth between $250 and $300 million, making him the highest-paid player this winter outside of Shohei Ohtani.

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