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After recent extensions, the Cubs now have a new core in place

11 months agoTony Andracki

The Cubs were highly motivated to get extensions done with Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ because they believe in them as players and as people.

But they also understood the big picture and how important it is to get the core of players locked up long-term.

Over the last 13 months, Jed Hoyer’s front office has secured Happ, Hoerner, Seiya Suzuki and Dansby Swanson for at least the next four years.

That quartet will likely fill out the 1 through 4 spots in the Cubs lineup once Suzuki returns from injury (which will likely be this weekend in Los Angeles).

“You can see a situation where the top four guys in the lineup are all prime age, they’re all signed through at least 2026,” Hoyer said. “I’m really thrilled to have that stability. This was certainly a priority to get these deals done.”

Hoyer admitted throughout the offseason that the Cubs were hopeful to get extensions done with Happ and Hoerner.

Neither deal was able to get done officially during Spring Training but with Hoerner’s deal right before Opening Day and Happ’s deal Wednesday, both players are going to be donning Cubbie blue for a long time.

[MORE: How Ian Happ, Cubs found common ground on extension]

While Happ and Hoerner have been successful players on the field, a big part of why the Cubs wanted to lock them up long-term was who they are as people and how they carry themselves in the clubhouse.

“One thing that stands out to me about the group we’ve got and the guys that are here for a long time is they’re hard workers,” David Ross said. “They’re culture-setters. Their expectations are to get better at all times.

“That’s a really big pickup for a guy in my seat that the expectations are coming from that room and not me.”

The Cubs accomplished a lot with the last core of players, as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Báez and others helped end a 108-year title drought.

Happ and Hoerner weren’t on that World Series team in 2016 but they spent years playing alongside that group and they can help carry the torch forward as the Cubs build a new core.

“They want to be part of the next group that does [win the World Series] and that’s really special,” Hoyer said. “I’m glad they have that faith.”

The Cubs’ ability to extend both Happ and Hoerner created a positive ripple effect in the clubhouse.

“Happ is a cornerstone of this franchise,” said Marcus Stroman, who is signed through 2024 but can opt out after this season. “Locking him up was something that I feel like was key for the future. Obviously Nico, he’s incredible.

“It’s just putting the foundational pieces to create a contender for years on out. I hope I’m a part of that going forward. I love Chicago. I love everything about this organization.”

Hoerner was obviously excited to sign his extension and land some security for his future. But he was also ecstatic to hear the news about one of his close friends as Happ’s deal came to fruition this week.

Especially on the heels of a thrilling homestand that served as early-season proof that what the Cubs are building towards is within reach.

“It’s hard in this game to make these strong relationships when there’s so much turnover,” Hoerner said. “So to have the sense of some form of a core starting to come together and it being guys that I really enjoy being around and I feel like prioritize things the right way, are grateful to be here — it’s a really exciting thing.

“Just feel a really nice sense of positivity and excitement and purpose around what we’re doing right now. It’s really nice to feel that purpose moving forward.”

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