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Will chilling free agency trend help Cubs sign core players to extensions?

MESA, Ariz. – MVP runnerup Javy Baez and Game 7 World Collection starter Kyle Hendricks both say they would welcome the possibility to speak to the Cubs about multiyear extensions, and they are the likeliest to be approached the subsequent time the Cubs get started chatting up brokers about extensions, which generally comes about about this time of year.

Not that these talks have long gone any place for the Cubs the past handful of a long time.

But could the timing be ideal for a modify in that trend right after back-to-back a long time of glacially slow, suppressed free of charge agent markets?

“In the latest a long time we’ve pretty quietly made runs at some of our gamers to get a lengthy-term extension performed,” team president Theo Epstein stated. “We have not been able to.”

Javy Baez using BP the to start with week of spring education. (John Antonoff photograph)

The notable exception was Anthony Rizzo’s 7-year deal in 2013. Kris Bryant, on the other hand, has picked out to leverage the arbitration system and is envisioned to test free of charge company when he turns into suitable right after 2021 – right after the supplemental year of control the Cubs certain by manipulating his assistance time as a rookie.

“It’s verified to be more complicated than we envisioned in some situations,” Epstein stated.

But the deep freeze of the past two free of charge agent markets has despatched a chill by way of a great deal of prospective free of charge brokers – though beginning to rile the union rank-and-file at significant.

Colorado 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado, who would be the top free of charge agent subsequent winter season, is reportedly in deep talks with the Rockies on a prospective lengthy-term extension. Phillies ace Aaron Nola, in his to start with winter season of arbitration eligibility, signed away his arbitration a long time and most likely two free of charge company a long time this month by agreeing to a 4-year, $45 million deal that incorporates a club solution.

“You might see that trend now with the way things are heading,” stated Cubs ace Jon Lester, an outspoken critic of the sudden shift in sector-large team habits the past two winters.

Dozens of gamers, such as stars Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel continue to be unsigned.

“You’re just about receiving punished to go by way of that system and come to be a free of charge agent at 28, 29. And you are preventing for three-year deals,” stated Lester, who signed a six-year, $155 million deal in December 2014.

Neither Epstein nor other team execs will go over their procedures, nor speak about options for personal gamers.

But Hendricks, the youngest starter on the staff with a year remaining of arbitration, and Baez, with two remaining, are top targets since of their assistance levels and keep track of records.

Even though neither has been approached to go over presents but, they stated, there might not be a much better time, provided the latest labor local weather.

“You have to search at what is heading on around the league, for absolutely sure,” Hendricks stated of gamers weighing extension presents from free of charge company. “You have to teach oneself on things that have transpired in the past and what the sector appears like now and then make the very best conclusion achievable.”


For the Cubs, the math isn’t difficult to do. If they want to maintain this team with each other and test to lengthen their aggressive window, they’ll need to purchase more pitching in the subsequent two a long time. And expiring contracts on your own might not deliver enough area in a payroll price range that is by now tapped this year and perfectly outside of the $206 million luxury-tax threshold.

What would seem certain is that Hendricks and Baez are inclined.

“I’ve stated that to them. I would really like to stay below,” stated Hendricks, who earns $7.4 million this year. “I’ve liked each 2nd of my time in Chicago. I really like the metropolis, I really like the enthusiasts, and just the option they’ve provided me, investing for me and having religion in me when I to start with bought introduced up. I really don’t want to go any place else.”

Baez, 26, made $5.2 million in his to start with winter season of arbitration eligibility right after building his to start with All-Star team past summer months.

“I would really like to stay below my total profession,” he stated. “But we’ll see what comes about on the business enterprise facet.”

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