It was reported early on Sunday morning that Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs were in agreement on an $80 million contract in MLB free agency. The three-year deal comes after a long free agency for Bellinger.

Bellinger's contract with Chicago includes a pair of opt-outs, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

“Cody Bellinger's salary on his deal with the Chicago Cubs 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),” Passan shared on X (formerly Twitter).

So how did Bellinger and the Cubs fare in this deal?

Cody Bellinger gets paid after bounce-back 2023 season

The 2019 MVP was fresh off back-to-back disappointing seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers last offseason. LA ultimately moved on from Bellinger and he entered free agency.

Bellinger knew he needed to rebound with his next team in order to earn a lucrative contract. He ended up signing a one-year deal with the Cubs in hopes of bouncing back.

And that is exactly what he did.

The 28-year-old slashed an impressive .312/.356/.525/.881 in 2023. He added 26 home runs, 97 RBI, and 20 stolen bases across 130 games. Bellinger had accomplished his goal, and one would have imagined that the contract offers would instantly come to fruition in free agency after his strong performance.

It is unclear which teams specifically offered Bellinger contracts this past offseason, but Bellinger clearly didn't receive an offer he liked until Sunday. He was linked to teams such as the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, and San Francisco Giants throughout the offseason, but he ended up returning to the Cubs on the three-year contract.

This deal might not have been what he was looking for. Bellinger was probably seeking a long-term contract that would offer stability for years to come. Again, it's uncertain what kind of offers he received, but perhaps he did not get a long-term deal that made sense for him.

Cody Bellinger performed well in 2023 with the Cubs, but he has dealt with inconsistency in the past. Teams, such as the Yankees, may have been hesitant to pursue him as a result.

So his three-year contract with opt-outs is perfect in a sense. It gives Bellinger three years of security at the very least. And if he enjoys another big season in 2024 or 2025, he can opt out and test the free agency market once again. Ball clubs will be more willing to pursue him if Bellinger can display consistency moving forward.

Cubs re-sign an MVP-caliber player

Chicago Cubs first baseman Cody Bellinger (24) hits a single against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Truist Park.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bellinger finished 10th in National League MVP voting in 2023. He also won a Silver Slugger. As mentioned earlier, Bellinger previously won the MVP in 2019.

He's still in the prime of his career and could establish himself as a legitimate MVP candidate once again in 2024. Even if he doesn't, Bellinger should be able to post All-Star numbers.

Bellinger offers more than offensive production, though. He can play anywhere in the outfield as well as first base. He's a former Gold Glove winner and his defensive versatility will provide Chicago with different options.

The Cubs are also hoping to play a competitive brand of baseball in 2024. They just missed the postseason in 2023. Despite the playoff absence, it was a promising campaign for the team and Bellinger played a significant role in their success.

There is some risk in signing Bellinger. He has dealt with injury trouble in the past, and his 2021 and 2022 seasons were forgettable with the Dodgers. But Bellinger proved that he can still perform at a high level in 2023, and his track record also suggests that he can be a star.

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Despite the risk, this is a good signing for Chicago.

Cubs-Cody Bellinger contract grade

The deal is a positive one for both sides. The short-term contract gives Bellinger the option to test free agency again if he wants. If not, he will spend three years with the Cubs and get paid a lot of money to do so.

The contract gives the Cubs a superstar for at least the 2024 season and possibly longer. However, it also minimizes the risk since it is not a long-term deal.

At the end of the day, it was not a perfect offseason for Bellinger or the Cubs. Chicago could have added more talent in MLB free agency and Bellinger likely wanted a long-term contract. Nevertheless, this deal makes sense for all parties involved.

Additionally, it will excite Cubs fans for the upcoming 2024 season.

Final Cubs-Cody Bellinger contract grade: A-