The San Francisco Giants have finally secured a high-level free agent, signing KBO League MVP (South Korea) Jung Hoo Lee to a big contract Tuesday. The move ends their ongoing pursuit of offensive star power, while also disrupting the offseason plans of several other teams. They now turn to an intriguing alternative in the form of Cody Bellinger.
“The Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres all had expressed strong interest in Jung Hoo Lee before he signed his 6-year, $113 million deal with the San Francisco Giants,” Bob Nightengale posted on X. “Center fielder/1B Cody Bellinger now squarely on those teams’ radar, along with the Giants.”
The race for Cody Bellinger appears to be a crowded one
The last part of that report is arguably the most eye-catching. After another disappointing campaign, San Fran could be all in on upgrading its lineup. Fans would need a minute to come to terms with seeing Bellinger wear Giants colors after showering him with jeers for six seasons.
Though, those other potential suitors could be intent on making the 2019 National League MVP their new top priority in MLB free agency. With Lee off the board, Bellinger clearly stands out as the best available left-handed bat. There are definite risks to signing the injury-prone talent, but his redemption 2023 campaign will convince at least one organization to shell out a serious offer.
The 28-year-old batted .307, belted 26 home runs, posted 97 RBIs and recorded 20 stolen bases in 130 games for the Cubs. Is it a fluke or a return to form? That exact question is the cause of many sleepless nights for executives all around the league. But for teams like the Ohtani-scorned Blue Jays or unpredictable Padres, desperation might just take over at the negotiation table.
Staying in Chicago seems practical, but all of these aforementioned clubs have solid sales pitches to make to Cody Bellinger. The World Series champion should have no problem in being anyone’s No. 2 choice, just as long as they pay him like a No. 1.