Chicago Cubs Rumors: Ian Happ open to taking discount to stay with team
Two Chicago Cubs Spring Training games remain before Opening Day as the team is set to close out their Cactus League schedule of games against the Chicago White Sox on Monday and Tuesday and it would appear to be a near certainty that All-Star left fielder Ian Happ will begin the season without a contract extension.
Happ spoke with Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times and did not offer much insight into what progress was made in contract extensions with the team during Spring Training but is beginning the season with the mindset of only controlling what he can.
"“There’s no right way to do it,” Happ told the Sun-Times when asked what he learned from observing his former teammates in their walk years, “and that it’s very true that you can only control what you can control.”"- Maddie Lee via Chicago Sun-Times
For the first time, however, we have clarity on what Happ's expectations may be as the report from the Sun-Times did indicate that the Gold Glove outfielder would be open to taking a hometown discount in order to remain with the Cubs.
"Happ, a member of the MLBPA executive subcommittee, is in tune with MLB spending trends. But he continues to speak highly of his time in Chicago. There’s a sense he would take what his camp would consider to be a hometown discount to stay with the Cubs."- Maddie Lee via Chicago Sun-Times
With contract extensions signed by Manny Machado with the San Diego Padres and Rafael Devers with the Boston Red Sox this offseason, Happ is in a position to enter next offseason as the best position player on the free-agent market.
A recent projection for Happ and an extension with the Cubs was calculated at $100MM for six years. This seems likely to be the type of hometown discount that Happ would be willing to take as given the spending spree that occurred this past offseason, Happ certainly could top that mark if he hits the open market.
The Cubs will need to weigh the difference between potential and a known commodity. The Cubs' prospect rankings are littered with outfielders at the top in Pete Crow-Armstrong, Kevin Alcantara, Brennen Davis, and Alexander Canario. Of the four, Davis appears the most likely to have a Major League debut this season. The Cubs' unwillingness to match Happ's asking price, even at a discounted rate, may be based on the idea that they have prospects in the waiting. That is a risk if the team is willing to let an All-Star talent walk for a prospect that has the potential but is not certain to reach the level that Happ is already at.