The SF Giants would like to add a pure center fielder this winter and they appear to be targeting one of the best names on the market. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Giants are considered "co-favorites" to sign star outfielder Cody Bellinger.
SF Giants reportedly considered "co-favorites" to add former division foe
I will admit that I do not have a good memory when it comes to these things, but I cannot remember the last time the Giants and Yankees vied for a power-hitting slugger like this. It feels like a new thing entirely and I am sure that the Giants will land Bellinger without any shenanigans.
Nightengale notes that the Yankees would like to add Bellinger and trade for Juan Soto this winter. That seems like a totally reasonable thing to want and I would also like that for my team. On the other hand, he indicates that the Giants would like to pair Bellinger with Matt Chapman.
It is interesting to note that there has been less chatter surrounding the 28-year-old slugger and the incumbent Chicago Cubs lately. Both sides are interested in a return, but Chicago does not seem too eager to meet the $200 million price tag.
The left-handed bat is represented by super agent Scott Boras and he is going to get his players paid one way or the other. After several down seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was non-tendered last offseason before landing with the Cubs on a one-year, $17.5 million pact with a mutual option for a second season.
This turned out to be a great move for the former NL MVP as he slashed .307/.356/.525 (133 OPS+) with 26 home runs, 97 RBI, and 95 runs in 556 plate appearances. This includes a 7.2 percent walk rate, 15.7 percent strikeout rate, and a .218 ISO.
The low strikeout rate is really an impressive stat for someone with such an aggressive, uppercut swing. Defensively, Bellinger demonstrated the type of ranger and arm strength to remain an above-average glove for years to come. Not surprisingly, he was worth +5 Outs Above Average in 2023. Of course, he declined his side of the mutual option in favor of free agency.
That type of power-speed-defense combo is not going to be inexpensive. MLB Trade Rumors predicts that he will land a 12-year, $264 million deal in free agency. Both the years and dollars seem to be on the higher side of his earnings range, but a contract like that could still be doable. '
Of course, one way for a player like Bellinger to score that type of deal is to pit two of the bigger markets in baseball against each other. While the Giants and Yankees may be interested in signing the veteran outfielder, this information was made public for a reason. Perhaps, it is a way to get a mystery team in the mix or as a way to push the Cubs back into the fold. Or, it could be a totally valid rumor, but these things usually have an angle and that angle often comes from the agent.