Cubs News

Cubs’ Cody Bellinger is blocking out the rumors and hitting everything in sight

11 months agoTony Andracki

As the Cubs determine their path at the trade deadline in the next week-and-a-half, Cody Bellinger’s name continues to come up in rumors.

But that hasn’t slowed down the Chicago center fielder/first baseman.

Bellinger smacked 3 more hits in Friday’s 4-3 win over the Cardinals and he is now hitting an insane .462 with a 1.293 OPS, 6 homers and 15 RBI in July. On Friday, he hit a 2-run homer and came a triple shy of the cycle.

“It’s must-watch television,” said Cubs starter Justin Steele, who picked up his 10th win Friday. “I feel like everybody when he comes up to bat at this point is watching the TV. He’s unbelievable. It’s so much fun to watch.”

Bellinger leads Major League Baseball in hits in July (30) and his season slash line sits at .317/.371/.542 (.913 OPS).

That’s close to his MVP-level performance — when he took home the award in 2019, Bellinger slashed .305/.406/.629 (1.035 OPS).

“He’s a really good player,” manager David Ross said. “That’s why he’s a former MVP. The guy’s an absolute stud of a baseball player. He’s a pleasure to be around. He’s the total package for sure. Especially when he’s playing like this.”

Bellinger knows what could be coming down the line for him with the Aug. 1 trade deadline 10 days away. But he’s been able to tune out the noise and focus on the present moment, which has helped him succeed on the field.

“I think obviously just understanding the reality of the game,” he said. “With that being said, a lot of that is out of my control — if I go, where I go, whatever happens. For me, I can only focus on the game and just staying within the game and just focusing on that. That’s it.”

He said he’s had conversations with Jed Hoyer’s front office about the trade deadline.

“We’re a very open communication group here,” Bellinger said. “I’m in the loop on what could happen, what couldn’t happen. Open communication. I just like to focus on what I can control.”

Even with an uncertain future, Bellinger has been able to flourish by keeping things simple.

“He doesn’t overthink things,” Ross said. “He just comes every day with a willingness to get better and try and win a baseball game. That’s all he’s focused on. He handles everything the same. Even when he’s scuffling, he feels like he’s locked in.

“He’s got a great demeanor about him. He’s got a really easy way. And that’s how you go through a full season of ups and downs. He’s been good, he’s been bad, he’s been on championship teams. He’s a winning baseball player.”

Bellinger fell on tough times after that dominant 2019 season, with a .203 AVG and .648 OPS from 2020-22, prompting the Dodgers to non-tender him in the offseason.

The Cubs pounced on the bounceback potential, guaranteeing Bellinger $17.5 million on a 1-year deal that has worked out perfectly for both sides.

“It’s been great,” Bellinger said. “Since Day 1. The hitting coaches, the staff, the locker room, it’s been great. Love it here. It’s a great place.”

He has also made a lasting impression beyond his play on the field.

“He’s unbelievable,” Steele said. “Great teammate first off. Great human being. Great friend. I feel like he’s friends with everybody in the clubhouse. Great energy in the clubhouse every single day.

“I feel like everybody in the clubhouse would say he’s amazing. Love having him here. It’s also sick that he smacks homers, too. He’s amazing.”

After Friday’s win, the Cubs sit at 46-51 and began the day 8.5 games out of 1st place.

Bellinger is a perfect fit for the Cubs long-term with his left-handed power, overall offensive game, defensive versatility (he can be an elite glove in center field or at first base) and positive influence in the clubhouse.

But that same profile also makes Bellinger one of the hottest commodities on the trade market this summer. And if the Cubs are going to avoid a third straight deadline sell-off, they need to start stacking together some more games like Friday.

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