Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger has kicked off the 2023 season on a high note. His hot stretch already has many fans starting the conversation about whether the organization should consider extending the former MVP.
And that conversation got a little more interesting on Wednesday.
Appearing on 670 The Score, Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins spoke about how the organization views Bellinger and the possibility of an extension.
“We’re really excited about having him be here and would love to find a way to have him here for a long time,” Hawkins said. “When there’s an appropriate time to have those conversations, we’ll have them.”
The Case for Extending Cody Bellinger
After Bellinger’s hot start, there’s a case to be made for an extension. In his first 24 games of the season, he slashed .297/.371/.604 with 27 hits — including seven home runs, five doubles, and one triple — 18 RBIs, and four stolen bases. Here’s the interesting thing about his stolen bases: through just 10 games in May so far, he’s more than doubled that number to nine stolen bases.
I know what you’re probably thinking. “Oh, Bellinger is just a one-dimensional hitter and can’t hit the lefty.”
In 52 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, Bellinger holds a .289 batting average and 1.029 OPS with four home runs and two doubles. And for those wondering, against right-handed pitching he’s batting only .293 with an .843 OPS, three home runs, and seven doubles.
Can we say that Bellinger is officially back to his 2019 MVP form? Debatable. But then again, his 2023 “form” looks pretty nice so far.
With prospects such as Pete Crowe Armstrong, Brennen Davis, and Kevin Alcantara waiting in the wings, I can see why some fans may balk at the idea of the Cubs front office extending Cody Bellinger. But as the old saying goes: a prospect is just a prospect until they’re not. Who’s to say PCA, Davis, and Alcantara don’t pan out when they’re eventually called up? And if Bellinger is back to his old self, who’s to say he doesn’t improve even more throughout the year?
At the end of the day, Hawkins’ comments are exactly what one would expect him to say when asked about extending Bellinger. Chances are, Bellinger’s agent is probably hushing any chance of an extension during the season. But then again, Hawkins and Jed Hoyer were successful in extending both Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ during the season when many thought it wouldn’t happen until the offseason.
Either way, the fact that Hawkins is already kicking around the idea of a possible extension is interesting, and I’m here for it.