Free agent Cody Bellinger is returning to the Cubs on a three-year, $80 million deal with player options after the first two years. Photo Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports Sep 6, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) hits an RBI double against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Bellinger is headed back to the Chicago Cubs.

Bellinger largely returned to form in his first season with the Cubs in 2023. And after a lengthy free agency that spilled into spring training, Bellinger agreed on a deal that will bring him back to Chicago for at least 2024 and possibly 2025 and 2026.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the deal early Saturday morning.

“Centerfielder Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs are in agreement on a three-year, $80 million contract, sources tell ESPN,” Passan tweeted. “Bellinger will receive opt-outs after each of the first two years of the deal. Bellinger, 28, returns to the Cubs after a prolonged free agency.”

In a follow-up tweet, Passan added that the deal “Will pay him $30 million this season, $30 million in 2025 (if he doesn’t opt out after Year 1) and $20 million in 2026 (if he doesn’t opt out after Year 2).”

As a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bellinger had a great start to his career. He won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2017, was the National League Championship Series MVP in 2018 and the National League MVP in 2019. He was one of MLB’s best power hitters over that stretch, hitting 11 home runs and slashing at .278/.369/.559.

The 2020-2022 seasons were much different, as he hit only 41 home runs. And while that total is definitely lowered by 2020’s shortened season, his slash line was only .203/.272/.376.

Bellinger was non-tendered by the Dodgers after the 2022 season and ended up with the Cubs. He enjoyed a resurgent season in 2023, playing 130 games and hitting .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs. Bellinger also stole a career-high 26 bases in 2023, won a Silver Slugger and finished tenth in NL MVP voting.

[Jeff Passan on Twitter/X]

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