Cody Bellinger airport encounter proves he really wanted to join Yankees

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

The door has all but closed on Cody Bellinger's chances to join the Yankees in free agency this offseason, but the bond between the two parties may never completely dissolve. After all, family ties run deep.

Bellinger's father Clay was a bench player on the dynastic Yankees, and many pegged the two sides as a fit -- last offseason, when Bellinger was coming off his worst year in Dodger Blue, and at the 2023 trade deadline, when it seemed as if the Cubs might cut bait. Instead, Chicago took their slugger off the market and surged into a Wild Card spot, only to choke at the horn in Atlanta, lose their grip on the postseason, and lose Bellinger to Scott Boras.

Would the Yankees splurge on the lefty bat, coming off the recovery year of his post-MVP life and yearning for the short porch? Not exactly. Reports, thus far, have pegged Bellinger's ask between $200 and $250 million. With one excellent year following two duds, and serious questions about his exit velocities (now becoming almost a be all, end all), it's unlikely he receives anywhere near that much cash, despite hitting the market at what would've been considered a "perfect time" as recently as the 2010s, before the proliferation of data.

In any case, the Yankees filled their outfield with Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham; while Bellinger may someday be a first baseman, he probably isn't signing with a team that views him as "Anthony Rizzo's backup," first and foremost (no matter how much he might want to).

According to a few fans who ran into Bellinger at the airport to start 2024, the slugger "wishes" the Yankees had called at all this year, losing leverage with every letter that left his lips.

Yankees Free Agency: Cody Bellinger wishes New York had called

That sound you hear is Scott Boras ripping this tweet off the internet.

In the end, it'll likely come down to the increasingly desperate Blue Jays and incumbent Cubs for Bellinger's services. Fingers crossed the Cubs win out, able to land Bellinger on a high-AAV, shorter-term deal to minimize risk and keep him in a comfortable home.

His time at the Friendly Confines was rejuvenating last year, and it seemed like a great culture fit, too. If he's yearning for the Yankees, but won't receive their call, Wrigley seems like a pretty solid second choice.