Report: Cody Bellinger still on SF Giants’ radar after signing Lee

Dec 13, 2023, 9:37 AM

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 06: Cody Bellinger #24 of the Chicago Cubs runs to second base after ...

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Giants and team president Farhan Zaidi have received heavy criticism following years of missing out on marquee free agents.

Last year, it was Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa. Before that, it was Bryce Harper. Years before that, Jon Lester. In 2023, the Giants were a finalist for superstar Shohei Ohtani–and even matched the Los Angeles Dodgers’ massive offer with identical deferrals–to no avail.

While recently-signed outfielder Jung Hoo Lee isn’t a superstar at the MLB level yet, the signing of the 25-year-old KBO standout acts as a hopeful precursor for more encouraging moves from Zaidi and the Giants front office.

It has been heavily reported that San Francisco met with Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the top free-agent pitcher on the market, as he selects his first MLB team.

We know the Giants are heavy on Yamamoto, but will they continue to chase free-agent bats after signing Lee to a six-year, $113 million deal?

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the signing of Lee has not deterred San Francisco from showing interest in free-agent outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.

More on the Giants’ pursuit of Cody Bellinger

Giants fans are familiar with Bellinger from his days with the Dodgers, where he took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2017, an MVP award in 2019, and a World Series title in 2020.

After a brutal three-season stretch from 2o2o-2022 that saw Bellinger bat .204 over 295 games, Bellinger was designated for assignment by Los Angeles and granted his release last offseason.

Instead of fading away as some young stars have done before, Bellinger used a one-year “earn it” contract to his advantage in 2023 as the two-time All-Star hit .307 (career-high) while mashing 26 home runs, driving in 97 runs and posting a .525 slugging percentage with the Chicago Cubs.

At the age of 28, this is Bellinger’s big chance at cashing in on a long-term, lucrative contract–one that his super-agent in Scott Boras will surely look to extract from teams interested in a left-handed power bat that can play a solid center-field and first base.

YouTube video

While all eyes remain on Yoshinobu, the rest of the free agent market could quickly take shape once the talented right-hander picks his team.

Bellinger could be an intriguing option for San Francisco, especially if they miss out on Yamamoto and have more financial flexibility. The strikeout aspect of Bellinger’s game is unsettling, but the Silver Slugger award winner boasted a career-best 15.7% strikeout rate in 2023 (down from 27.3% in 2022).

The Giants have longed for a left-handed power bat (or any power bat, really) as they seek a 30-home run hitter for the first time since Barry Bonds hit 45 in 2004.

Bellinger could provide San Francisco with more center field depth behind Lee while manning one of the corner outfield spots and filling in at first base here and there.

Jim Bowden, former MLB GM and current writer for The Athletic, recently laid out his prediction for Bellinger’s contract:

$181 million over seven years ($25.8 million average annual value).

If the Giants land Yamamoto with a deal in the $250-300 million range, as many including Bowden have projected, it could change San Francisco’s plans for pursuing Bellinger.

Other teams desperate for outfield help like the Toronto Blue Jays and Bellinger’s most-recent team in the Cubs will also be aggressive in the bidding process once Yamamoto comes off of the board.

For now, we wait–but the signing of Lee, interest in Yamamoto, and continued monitoring of Bellinger makes it clear that Zaidi is looking to make a splash this offseason.

SF Giants Schedule

Spring Training

  • February 13-15th – Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training workouts
  • February TBD – Full squad workouts
  • Saturday, February 24th – Spring Training opener vs. Chicago Cubs

Regular Season

  • Thursday, March 28th-Sunday, March 31st – @ San Diego Padres
  • Monday, April 1st-Wednesday, April 3rd – @ Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Friday, April 5th-Sunday, April 7th – vs. San Diego Padres

Thank you for reading Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


San Francisco Giants

Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants hugs his team after his final baseball game agains...

Joseph Jarosz

Brandon Crawford says goodbye to Giants fans, says he wasn’t wanted back

Brandon Crawford thanked the San Francisco Giants organization and fans in a social media post, but added more clarity as to why he wasn't brought back to the team that drafted him.

10 hours ago

Jung Hoo Lee (51) of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait at Scottsdale Stadium on Februar...

Amiliano Fragoso

Watch: Jung-Hoo Lee hits first home run in Giants uniform

Jung-Hoo Lee hit his first home run with the San Francisco Giants Thursday, blasting one over the center field wall against the Diamondbacks.

1 day ago

Tristan Beck #43 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Oracle Park...

Joseph Jarosz

Giants pitcher Tristan Beck ruled out for opening day after aneurysm in arm discovered

San Francisco Giants pitcher Tristan Beck has been ruled out for opening day after an aneurysm was discovered in the pitcher's arm.

1 day ago

General view as a rainbow forms behind Oracle Park during the fourth inning between the San Francis...

Joseph Jarosz

Rob Manfred eliminates Oracle Park as possible temporary home for A’s

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Oracle Park is seen as a longshot as a potential home for the Oakland Athletics in 2025.

2 days ago

Mitch Haniger #17 of the San Francisco Giants hits a sixth inning two-run double against the Colora...

BRANDON GUSTAFSON Assistant Editor of

Mitch Haniger, who never wanted to leave Mariners, happy to return

After a year away, Mitch Haniger is back with the Seattle Mariners. And that’s something he’s very excited about.

2 days ago

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 03: Matt Chapman #26 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a single agains...

Frankie Cartoscelli

MLB insider says the SF Giants are the best fit for Matt Chapman

MLB Network's Jon Morosi says that the San Francisco Giants are the best fit for free agent third baseman Matt Chapman.

3 days ago

Report: Cody Bellinger still on SF Giants’ radar after signing Lee