CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs center fielder and first baseman Cody Bellinger has declined his player option with the club and opted for free agency, according to the team Friday.

The move is one many expected and comes hours after the Cubs congratulated Bellinger for winning National League (NL) Comeback Player of the Year.

Bellinger had a bounce back 2023 campaign with the North Siders. In 130 games, Bellinger slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI’s while posting an .881 OPS, his highest single-season OPS since winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2019 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Nov. 6 marks the official beginning of MLB free agency, when the five-day exclusive negotiating window with players’ 2023 teams ends, and players are free to negotiate with teams as they please.