Chicago Cubs News: Nico Hoerner signs three-year contract extension

Mar 26, 2023; Mesa, Arizona, USA;  Chicago Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner (2) takes time for an
Mar 26, 2023; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner (2) takes time for an / Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Monday was a busy day for the Chicago Cubs as the team made several moves in anticipation of finalizing their Opening Day roster ahead of Thursday's tilt against the Milwaukee Brewers but the biggest news arrived Monday night as the team agreed to a contract extension with second baseman Nico Hoerner.

For the Cubs, the extension marks somewhat of a landmark moment for the organization. 2019 was the last year in which the Cubs were able to successfully sign a player to a contract extension as the team agreed to new deals with starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks and utility infielder David Bote. Though, neither extension carries the same weight that the extension with Hoerner does.

Outside of shortstop Dansby Swanson, Hoerner is the most important player in regard to the next contending core of the Cubs. The deal not only provides cost certainty for the Cubs as they bought out the final two years of Hoerner's arbitration eligibility but also gives them an extra year of control at what will likely be a discounted rate.

The extension also puts Hoerner on a similar timeline as Swanson. Swanson's seven-year deal has him signed through 2030 whereas Hoerner will reach free agency in 2029. Hoerner and Swanson will likely be at the center of the next Cubs team that makes the postseason and now the two are locked in together for at least the next six seasons.

The Cubs have drawn criticism in recent seasons for their inability to lock up members of the previous contending core to contract extensions. The deal that was made with Hoerner provides an encouraging sign that perhaps the front office has learned from their previous mistakes and understands the importance of locking up their homegrown players.

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All eyes will now be on left fielder Ian Happ as he is the last remaining extension candidate on this current Cubs' team. Happ may be open to taking a discount with the Cubs and the work that the team made with Hoerner may provide some renewed optimism for the All-Star outfielder.