Yankees-Cody Bellinger rumor is massive free agency mistake waiting to happen

If they passed on him this past offseason, there's no sense in going after him now.
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Cody Bellinger was taken off the trade market before the Aug. 2 deadline when the Chicago Cubs ended up surging in the NL playoff picture. The New York Yankees were reportedly interested in the slugger, but fell victim to a barren market, as more and more teams chose not to wave the white flag.

But they could have a free shot at Belli come the offseason ... just like they did this past offseason. This time around, however, Bellinger's value won't be at an all-time low after being non-tendered by his team.

When November arrives, Bellinger will 100% be rejecting his mutual option with the Cubbies for 2024, hit free agency, and cash out after a resurgent season, just like evil agent Scott Boras has long planned.

Per the latest buzz, when that happens, the Yankees are expected to be one of the suitors for Bellinger, who is believed to potentially command a contract upwards of $300 million. But this would represent yet another massive misstep by this front office.

If the Yankees had the opportunity to sign Bellinger to a one-year deal last offseason and then had another opportunity to convince the Cubs to trade him to them well before the Aug. 2 deadline with an offer they couldn't refuse, in what world would the Yankees logically decide paying top-market money for Bellinger, who just endured 2.5 years of replacement-level play before rediscovering his stroke, was the optimal call?

Yankees-Cody Bellinger rumor is massive free agency mistake waiting to happen

Here's the latest from Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

"It figures to be Chicago Cubs center fielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger, the former MVP who has rebounded from two years of struggles with the Dodgers to being a savior with the Cubs. He entered Saturday hitting .320 with 22 homers, 81 RBI and a .915 OPS.

The price-tag will be heavy, exceeding $200 million, perhaps even seeking more than $300 million.

The most aggressive suitors are expected to be: The Cubs, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees."

Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY

Speaking of those career-altering 2.5 years that ultimately led to the Dodgers non-tendering Bellinger, what makes anybody think he won't immediately fall back into such despair like most of the Yankees' high-profile signings/trade acquisitions have over the last few years?

The Yankees have seemingly just figured out their configuration for 2024. Jasson Dominguez is with the big-league club and the early returns on his performance suggest he'll be the Opening Day starter in center field. Aaron Judge is in right field. Everson Pereira should get enough run to be the starter in left field, assuming we don't witness a worst-case scenario over the next month.

If another massive expenditure is going to be made, Hal Steinbrenner has to make sure it's one without detrimental pitfalls. As much as Bellinger's player profile fits Yankee Stadium, a $200+ million investment in somebody who took a one-year flyer nine months ago would only put unnecessary pressure on the Yankees because of the inherent risks that would follow.