5 feel-good Chicago Cubs stories heading into Opening Day

MLB At Field Of Dreams: Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
MLB At Field Of Dreams: Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Nico Hoerner FINALLY got his extension!

No story prompted a sigh of relief for Cubs fans more than hearing the franchise's star second baseman, Nico Hoerner, finally, mercifully, earned his extension. It may only add one extra year beyond his remaining arbitration years, but it's more than this team has been able to show for itself since 2019 with Kyle Hendricks and David Bote. The Cubs have been downright allergic to extensions for years now, seeing all of their former core go by the wayside from 2021 onward. To finally break that trend in ANY way is a small victory and a crucial message to both fans and homegrown players alike.

Even if it's not lengthy, the deal also makes a lot of sense for both team and the player. The Cubs get that extra bit of control to keep Hoerner and Dansby Swanson together up the middle through 2026 at least. Hoerner, meanwhile, gets to hit the open market at 29 in his prime meaning he can still secure a significant deal should he walk in free agency. Who's to say the team won't just offer another healthier extension once he gets close either? It's a deal that gives everyone more time and more cost certainty while the Cubs almost certainly got a discount on one of Hoerner's free-agent years.

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I would be even happier if an Ian Happ extension is still to come, especially now since he's expressed a willingness to take a team-friendly extension, but the Cubs finally locking down a core player early is a huge deal. Let's hope this is the first of many to come as more young players come up and establish themselves.