Ian Happ making strong case for Chicago Cubs contract extension

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

While the attention has been on shortstop Dansby Swanson and his hot start to the 2023 season, Chicago Cubs All-Star left fielder has picked up exactly where he left off from the 2022 season and is already making a case for why the team needs to sign an outfielder to a contract extension.

In Tuesday night's victory over the Cincinnati Reds, Happ collected three hits along with two walks can continued his dominance over the Cubs' National League Central rival.

The success does not stop there for Happ. On the season, the Cubs' left fielder is off to a terrific start as he is slashing .438/.609/.750/1.359 through his first 23 plate appearances to go along with a 263 wRC+ and .750 BABIP.

Of course, those numbers will level out as the season progresses but the start that Happ has had to the 2023 season is an indicator that the 2022 season was not a fluke for the National League All-Star. Since the second half of the 2021 season, Happ appeared to have figured out the best path for him in order to achieve offensive success at the Major League level and he has not looked back.

While it remains unlikely that an in-season contract extension will take place between the Cubs and Happ, the performance that the outfielder has had to start the season may further stress the importance for the team to bring him back on a long-term deal. While it is true that the Cubs' top prospect rankings is littered with outfielders, for a team that is on the doorsteps of being a contender, letting one of the purest hitters walk at the end of the season makes little sense.

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If that were to occur, the Cubs would have a glaring hole in left field and would need to hope that one of the prospects reach the level that Happ is already at. That would be a tough ask for a rookie entering their first full season at the Major League level.