When it comes to free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger, all anyone has heard since the offseason began was how it's inevitable that he and the Chicago Cubs will come to an eventual agreement. Earlier this week, Jon Morosi of MLB Network claimed multiple people within the baseball industry believe that the Cubs are the most likely landing spot for Bellinger.
If that's true, then why haven't the two sides come to an agreement yet? Of course, Bellinger is represented by the Boras Corporation, and the most powerful sports agent in the land has proven time and time again that he's willing to wait it out in an effort to get his client the best deal possible.
But you know what, Reds fans? It doesn't matter. With or without Bellinger, the Cincinnati Reds are still the better team. In fact, with all things being equal, it feels as if the Reds are being criminally underrated this season. The Milwaukee Brewers appear to be on the edge of a rebuild, and St. Louis hasn't done enough to bolster their roster. In fact, the Pittsburgh Pirates might be better than most fans give them credit for.
Cubs’ likely reunion with Cody Bellinger shouldn’t concern Reds fans
While the Reds have been busy adding to their roster this offseason, the Cubs have done a good job of subtracting from theirs. Cincinnati has secured Frankie Montas, Nick Martinez, Jeimer Candelario, Emilio Pagán, and Brent Suter. Chicago lost Candelario and Marcus Stroman and decided to replace them with Michael Busch and Shōta Imanaga.
Imanga doesn't have any sort of track record in the major leagues, but has the potential to be a good starter. However, baseball fans have seen time and time again how many Japanese stars are unable to recreate the magic they had overseas once they step onto a major league mound. Busch was a highly-touted prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system, but hasn't produced in The Show.
Chicago's roster is not devoid of talent. They did add former Houston Astros reliever Hector Neris and boast Cy Young candidate in Justin Steele as part of their starting rotation. And while Ian Happ has been a Reds' killer over the years, he still posted an OPS below .800 in 2023, so let's not act as if he's a perennial All-Star.
Yes, Bellinger is a former Rookie of the Year and MVP, but you can't just gloss over the three-year stretch when the outfielder hit only .203/.272/.376 with an OPS+ of 76. No wonder the Cubs' front office is shying away from dropping over $200 million on the former fourth-round pick.
The Reds have a better roster than the Cubs, with or without Cody Bellinger
The Cincinnati Reds roster is loaded with young talent. Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Noelvi Marte all have superstar potential. There's also Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer, and TJ Friedl. The Reds rotation is made up of almost entirely second and third-year starters, two of which are former first-round picks.
Nick Krall and the Reds front office did everything they needed to do this winter to put Cincinnati in contention to win the NL Central in 2024. Whether Cody Bellinger re-signs with the Cubs or not, to quote The Rock, "It doesn't matter!" The Reds roster is superior to the Cubs, with or without Bellinger.