Giants to aggressively pursue Bellinger in free agency

Report: Giants to aggressively pursue Bellinger in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Giants’ upcoming offseason will revolve around impending free agent Shohei Ohtani, who is expected to land the most lucrative contract in MLB history thanks to his unprecedented two-way stardom.

Along with Ohtani, San Francisco reportedly also will pursue Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger in free agency.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Sunday, citing sources, the Giants are expected to be one of the most “aggressive suitors” for Bellinger along with the Cubs, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees.

Bellinger is putting together a comeback season for the ages. After winning the 2019 NL MVP at age 23 with 47 homers and a 1.035 OPS, Bellinger registered just 41 homers and a .648 OPS over the next three seasons. The Los Angeles Dodgers non-tendered Bellinger last year, and he signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Cubs.

Well, “prove it” he has. In 105 games, Bellinger is batting .319/.365/.546 with 22 homers and 81 RBI, helping the Cubs surprisingly contend for an NL playoff spot.

Nightengale also reported Bellinger will be looking to land a hefty contract in free agency, estimated to exceed $200 million and “perhaps even seeking more than $300 million.”

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi hasn’t been shy bringing former Dodgers to San Francisco. Left-hander Alex Wood and slugger Joc Pederson currently both play significant roles on the Giants after longer stints in Los Angeles. Reliever Jake McGee and utility man Donovan Solano also spent time in the Dodgers organization before making their way to the Bay in recent years.

Adding Bellinger would significantly boost the Giants’ lineup. He can play first base and all three outfield spots, and his bat would provide the heart of the order with needed upside. Bellinger has registered a better batting average and OPS, and notched more homers and RBI than any Giants player this season.

Is Bellinger’s breakout 2023 campaign a mirage or a trend? That’s what teams like the Giants will have to determine this winter.

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