Chicago Cubs Spring Training: Contract extensions will be discussed

Sep 6, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ (8) watches his solo home
Sep 6, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Ian Happ (8) watches his solo home / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

While addressing reporters on Wednesday as Chicago Cubs pitchers and catchers officially reported to Spring Training, team president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer was asked about whether or not any progress has been made regarding possible contract extensions for either left fielder Ian Happ or second baseman Nico Hoerner.

In previous comments made this offseason, Hoyer appeared to have set the start of Spring Training as the deadline for contract negotiations. Hoyer pushed back against that idea as he told reporters including Patrick Mooney of The Athletic that there is no firm deadline.

"“That’s not a hardline thing,” Hoyer said. “We have had discussions, and I’ll stick with what we always do, which is not talk about where we are with them. But we’ve had good dialogue with both sides. We’re not going to just cut it off because we’re here today.” "

Jed Hoyer via The Athletic

It would appear, however, that Hoyer may table negotiations once the Cubs approach the start of the regular season.

"“My preference is really not to get towards the end of spring training and get to a place where I feel like it’s affecting the preparation and the mentality for the season,” Hoyer said. “I do think that has happened. I’ve seen that happen before, so that’s something we’ll be aware of, and we’ve talked to both camps about that. But like I said, the conversations are good. We’re not going to set some kind of firm deadline.”"

Jed Hoyer via The Athletic

Cubs fans have seen this episode before. The comments that Hoyer made on Wednesday were similar to the sentiments that were shared during previous Spring Trainings when the front office was asked about possible extensions for the core of players that won the 2016 World Series. The only instance where the Cubs may have come close to succeeding in their strategy was in 2020 when it was believed that the team was nearing a contract extension with shortstop Javier Baez before the operations ceased because of the pandemic.

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If the Cubs are unable to sign either Happ or Hoerner to a long-term contract extension, then there would need to be a serious question in regard to what the team is doing. The Cubs remain a team that is in need of a true impact hitter and Happ is posturing himself to be one of the three best impact hitters on the free-agent market next offseason. Meanwhile, Hoerner appears to be on the ascension to superstardom while also emerging as a leader on the team. For a Cubs team that is expecting to return to relevancy in 2023, it should start with extensions for both Happ and Hoerner.