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MLB Trade Deadline: Cubs take Cody Bellinger off market

The son of a former Yankee will not be following his father’s footsteps in pinstripes. (Not yet, anyway.)

Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

MLB Trade Deadline activity has been heating up in recent days with the witching hour approaching on August 1st. Fire sales in Queens and the South Side of Chicago have led to Max Scherzer joining the Rangers, David Robertson packing his bags for Miami, and Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn heading out west to different parts of southern California.

Just a few months ago, the Yankees were expected to be participants in deadline news, but their dire slump in Aaron Judge’s long absence has waylaid them into an uncomfortable middle ground. The front office is understandably hesitant to go all-in on a disappointing team that sits in last place and 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot as of the start of play on Sunday, but the Cubs’ Cody Bellinger had still been considered a possible target.

The 2019 NL MVP has done a nice job of returning to his previous power-hitting form after a few lost seasons with the Dodgers led to a non-tender. The Cubs picked him up and he’s rewarded them with a .315/.368/.540 triple slash with 15 homers and a 141 wRC+ in 73 games. Since they had only signed him to a one-year deal and weren’t NL Central favorites, the odds appeared to be good that he had would only call the Wrigley confines home for half a season, and as recently as July 20th, a Bellinger deal seemed like a lock to happen with the Cubs 8.5 games out of first place. Given the Yankees’ need for lefty bats (not to mention the familial ties), it wasn’t hard to connect the dots of a possible match.

The tides have fully changed in just a week and a half, however. A savvy way for a team to prove that it wants to contend after all is to win literally every game. That’s what the Cubs have done! Entering July 30th, they’re riding an eight-game winning streak and leaving the first-place Brewers and second-place Reds no margin for error. David Ross’ club is only 3.5 games back in the division, and even over in the NL Wild Card race, they’re a smidge closer than the Yankees in the Junior Circuit. The Cubs are ahead of the favored Padres and trail the D-backs and Marlins (hardly powerhouses) by 2.5 games. The Reds and Phillies share the final two NL Wild Card spots and again, Chicago is only three back.

This is all a long prologue to say that the Cubbies have reversed course. Cody Bellinger will not be traded, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

Bellinger might be a Yankee one day; he’ll be a free agent this coming offseason after all, though he’ll surely be able to get a bigger deal than the one-year, $17.5 million pillow contract that he signed prior to 2023. That would’ve been the time to roll the dice on Cody rather than gambling on Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks holding down left field! Oh well.

Either way, Bellinger won’t be a Yankee anytime soon, and if New York was considering Bellinger as a possible addition, the front office will have to scratch his name off the list (which isn’t exactly an enticing one anyway). Maybe find a way to be closer to a playoff spot than literally the 2023 Cubs next time, there’s an idea.