We're nearing the finish line on what's undoubtedly been an impactful offseason for the Chicago Cubs so far. They bolstered the rotation with Jameson Taillon, remedied the first base/DH situation with Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini, added a high-upside defensive upgrade in center fielder Cody Bellinger, and, most importantly, came away with one of the big four shortstops in Dansby Swanson.
There's still nearly a month until pitchers and catchers report though and still problems to solve on the roster. With the team still having around $12 million before hitting the luxury tax threshold, Jed Hoyer seems focused on adding another veteran lefty reliever like Andrew Chafin or Matt Moore to supplement the bullpen. There's also the issue of figuring out who's next to go when the deal for Mancini becomes official and another arm is added. That's without getting into the possibilities of extensions for Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ.
So many possibilities remain for the Cubs to make the most out of this offseason. Today though, I'm not interested in the most likely outcomes. Let's make three bold predictions about what will befall the Northsiders in the remainder of the offseason.
#1: Cubs ink extensions for both Hoerner and Happ
This is my least bold prediction, but it's one that would be a departure from what we've seen over the past 40 years. The Cubs have a poor track record of locking up their young, homegrown talent, whether because they wait too long and they become too expensive or because they simply didn't bother. To their credit, they got oh-so-close with Javier Baez before the pandemic, but that too withered away to nothing.
This is the offseason where I think they shed the narrative that they can't extend their players. Considering Hoerner recently waxed poetic about being a Cub and how willing he is to be a team player and leader during Cubs Convention, it would be a massively positive swing for the Cubs to give him, say, seven years and ensure he and Dansby get to lead this team for the foreseeable future. It'd be a major win for fans too as they finally get the security of knowing a fan favorite is safe. I think that gets done for sure.
Happ will be the trickier of the two considering he's coming off easily the best year of his career after making tangible improvements to his game and is a free agent at the end of the season. I think Hoyer and company will ultimately recognize his efforts with a sizeable deal of his own though. Perhaps they look at the recent injuries to Alexander Canario and Brennen Davis and come to the conclusion that it's best to bet on the guy who has given them recent success and has, for the most part, proven to be a durable member of the team. His leadership in the clubhouse is the cherry on top, making him the perfect candidate to receive a new deal.