Chicago Cubs: How much pressure are Cubs under after Yelich extension?
As Opening Day approaches, the Milwaukee Brewers are nearing an extension with an MVP while the Chicago Cubs continue to play the waiting game.
Timing is everything. Only, if you wait too long, then the opportunity to get something done may end up passing you by. For the Chicago Cubs, locking down one or two players within this young core is a must, and the time to do so is ticking.
Watching this organization win a World Series in 2016 with the group they had been a feeling no Cubs or baseball fan will forget. A group of fresh talent making their postseason debuts, handled it like season veterans as they defied the odds being down in not one but two championship series.
Now, as we embrace change, those young players have since continued their impact on the league, and obviously, large sums of money will eventually be sent their way. While fans continue to plead for Theo Epstein and this front-office to get something done, a division rival took a step of their own.
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It’s no surprise that the Brewers wanted to lock down outfielder and MVP Christian Yelich. Yelich, who was acquired by Milwaukee in late January 2018, is closing in on a $200 million contract extension with Milwaukee as reported by Ken Rosenthal.
Although the deal has not been completed, it’s still seen as somewhat of a blueprint for other rising stars hoping to land an extension of their own. On the North Side, it would be Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, and Kyle Schwarber.
Of course, Bryant and Baez being the first two that come to mind when talking about extending into the future. In a perfect world, this team remains intact to compete for the N.L. Central crown against Yelich and those pesky Brewers.
However, the possibilities of that happening may not be realistic at all. Recently, Schwarber spoke of being involved in trade rumors and the reality of being part of a team with young talent whose contracts are set to expire soon:
"“If we’re all together for the rest of our careers, that’s all going to be positive. That’s all a plus. But the reality is it might not happen.” — Schwarber via 670 The Score on Twitter"
Money talks. Last season, Mookie Betts reportedly declined a new contract offer from the Boston Red Sox, which eventually led to his departure in a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in early February.
A similar scenario could be duplicated in Cleveland as Francisco Lindor patiently waits for a contract extension of his own. Lindor is good friends with Baez as the two continuously joked around during the 2016 World Series.
The question now is whether or not Bryant/Baez and Chicago want to either take the Betts/Boston route or follow in Milwaukee and Yelich’s footsteps. Either way, the pressure to get something done has increased and will lead to a meaningful career decision.