On Wednesday it became official: Cody Bellinger is now a Chicago Cub. Earlier in the offseason, he was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers after being owed ~$18 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility, but his performance over the last two-plus years didn't warrant that price tag.
After some speculation suggesting a reunion could be in the works (though many fans felt like that was a longshot), Bellinger ended up signing with Chicago on a one-year, $17.5 million contract on Dec. 6. On Dec. 14, the Cubs announced the deal, the terms were made public, and Bellinger and the Dodgers said their goodbyes.
Don't worry, Dodgers fans. This one wasn't a generic message a la Corey Seager or a Trea Turner ghosting. There were legitimate feelings to be felt with Bellinger's Instagram post, as well as the Dodgers' tribute video to the 27-year-old.
In the end, it's still upsetting that this didn't work out, especially after knowing the details of his contract with the Cubs. Belli will make a base salary of $12.5 million in 2023 and have a $25 million mutual option for 2024 (or a $5 million buyout).
Those terms seemed to be fairly friendly, especially with the Dodgers looking for some financial relief against the 2023 payroll. Instead, we're here holding back tears, remembering all the epic moments Bellinger engrained in the fanbase. Just look at his farewell Instagram, behind this link.
Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers said their official goodbyes on Wednesday
For everyone out there sweating about Bellinger have ill feelings toward the franchise because he hadn't yet thanked the fans, here's your proof that's not the case (at least we'd like to hope).
Though things ended just about as poorly as they could've, Bellinger's successes far outweighed his failures. He won a Rookie of the Year, MVP, NLCS MVP, World Series, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award whie earning two All-Star nods. He was on five Dodgers teams that won the NL West and four that won 100 or more games as one of the team's best players. He was a driving force in LA capturing three NL pennants.
As for the Dodgers, you knew it was only a matter of time before the team tipped their cap to their former homegrown star.
Sadly, nobody will be truly replacing Bellinger -- the person or player -- for quite a while. Even with his declining bat, his defense was among the best in the game. The Dodgers aren't going to pluck another Gold Glover out of thin air with the way they're conducting business this offseason.
Die-hard Dodgers fans will undoubtedly be tuning into some Cubs games in 2023 to keep tabs on their former favorite player in hopes he rebounds and returns to his MVP self. That's the Belli we all know and love on the field. The guy off the field hasn't changed one bit, thankfully.