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Cody Bellinger Signs, Settles for $150M Less After Scott Boras Staredown Backfires

Published 02/25/2024, 2:35 AM EST

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Finally, “he’s back.” Cody Bellinger’s rollercoaster ride of a career just took another sharp turn. Once the poster boy for young MLB superstars, a few bad seasons saw his value plummet. But a bounce-back year in 2023 hinted at a possible return to glory, and fans waited with bated breath to see where he’d land in free agency. Now, the answer has arrived, and it’s sure to raise some eyebrows.

Bellinger’s agent, the ever-controversial Scott Boras, was reportedly seeking a blockbuster deal. Yet, the final contract proved to be a far cry from those lofty expectations. So, what went wrong? Did the Boras-Bellinger gamble fail, or is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Chicago Cubs Outdid Scott Boras

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MLB insider Jeff Passan just broke the news that Bellinger will return to the Chicago Cubs on a three-year, $80 million deal—a far cry from the $200+ million, his agent, Scott Boras, was reportedly asking for.

It’s a stunning drop in market value for the 2019 NL MVP. MLB Trade Rumors had even projected a monstrous 12-year, $264 million contract for the outfielder. Instead, Cody Bellinger’s AAV might stand at a comparatively modest $26.6 million.

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Industry experts are now questioning the tactics of superagent Scott Boras. Despite representing some of baseball’s biggest names, his top clients remain unsigned as Spring Training gets underway. Bleacher Report suggests that Boras might be “doing his worst work right now,” with teams finding his clients too expensive or simply unnecessary.

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Boras, in classic fashion, remains defiant. He texted Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, insisting his players “impact winning outcomes” and that winning-focused owners will pay up. But will this bluster produce results, or is Boras heading for a major offseason loss? For his client Cody Bellinger, however, this is a success story in the making, as the Cubs deal gives him a chance to prove himself once again.

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Bellinger’s Bounce-Back Bet

After injury-plagued seasons with the Dodgers, Bellinger resurrected his value in 2023 with Chicago. ESPN highlights his .307 average and success against lefties, suggesting savvy adjustments contributed to his resurgence. Now, he’ll gamble on continued success to unlock the potential opt-outs in his contract.

As Jeff Passan mentions, “Bellinger will receive opt-outs after each of the first two years of the deal.” This detail adds a fascinating layer to Cody Bellinger’s decision. After locking in the 2024 and 2025 seasons for $30 million each, he could use the 2026 season to go to the Cubs for $20 million or opt to test the market waters.

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If he continues to excel, Cody Love could potentially re-enter the market after finishing his tenure with the Cubs and secure an even larger contract. With two chances to re-enter the market, he’s betting on himself to consistently produce top-tier results.

The Cubs deal could reignite Bellinger’s superstar path, but its impact on Scott Boras’ reputation remains uncertain. For now, baseball fans are all-in witnessing a dramatic shift in a star player’s market value, highlighting the ongoing power struggle between agents and team owners.

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

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One take at a time

"Those who gaze outward dream, but those who turn inward awaken." A pro-writer for MLB EssentiallySports, I’ve been a fan of the New York Yankees since my school days. In my adolescent years, I was introduced to the iconic franchise through one of my beloved Friends characters, Joey.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj