The Chicago Cubs would be wise to get this extension done soon

Justin Steele's value will likely only go up from here, so locking him up now could be the smart financial play for Chicago

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele is under team control for the next four seasons, but the team would be smart to offer him a contract extension sooner rather than later.

Steele took a huge step forward in 2023, posting a 3.06 ERA (6th best in MLB) in a career-high 176 innings pitched. The southpaw also finished fifth in National League Cy Young voting and established himself as the ace of the Cubs pitching staff. A recent Bleacher Report ranking even labeled Steele a top-ten ace in MLB, which is obviously very high praise. 2024 is Steele's first year of arbitration and he will make $4 million. From the Cubs' point of view, this is a bargain in terms of the type of production they are getting. But if Steele turns in another stellar campaign, it will make him one of the most criminally underpaid pitchers in the game.

A recent article from The Athletic's Tim Britton broke down that an extension for Steele might look like a six-year $90 million arrangement. This deal would essentially set in stone the estimated $40 million Steele is expected to make for the remainder of his arbitration years while also giving him an extra two years of high payout at $25 million a piece. This would be a competitive deal similar to the one that Logan Webb signed with the San Francisco Giants last year.

The Chicago Cubs need to pay Justin Steele immediately.

This would be a smart move for both parties in my opinion as the Cubs will lock Steele down for an extra two years and Steele would get a significant financial vote of confidence from the organization. It would certainly be a load off Steele's mind if his compensation for the next six years is confirmed to steadily increase, allowing him to just focus on being the best he can be on the field.

Notably, Steele will be 32 years old when he reaches free agency, which is not ideal for him if he performs well or not. Each year his agent will have to haggle with the Cubs and if he gets hurt or has a down season, it could seriously impact how much money he gets in arbitration. An extension would alleviate those types of concerns and the Cubs would have their ace under team control for their current competitive window and beyond.

Webb signed his extension mid-season (April) in 2023 after two solid campaigns in the big leagues. That's virtually the same position that Steele is in now so it wouldn't be out of the question to get this deal done now. If the team waits another year, then Steele and his agent could want more and the Cubs are notoriously finicky when it comes to mega-deals after the Jason Heyward bust.

First two full seasons


Innings Pitched



WHIP (Avg.)


Logan Webb






Justin Steele





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