Cubs, Ian Happ reach terms on a multi-year contract extension
It’s been an exhilarating, whirlwind 48 hours or so for the Chicago Cubs.
And the good vibes continued Wednesday just before the Cubs took on the Mariners in the series finale at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs and outfielder Ian Happ have agreed to a 3-year contract extension. The team confirmed the move just before first pitch Wednesday. The deal starts in 2024 and runs through 2026 with a reported full no-trade clause and no opt-outs.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and the rest of his front office spoke this offseason of extending both Happ and second baseman Nico Hoerner. Hoerner and the Cubs signed a contract extension just before Opening Day. Now, the Cubs have locked up 2 of their homegrown and developed first round picks through at least 2026.
Happ broke out in 2022, putting together his best season in the big leagues, hitting .271/.342/.440 with 42 doubles and 17 home runs, winning the NL Gold Glove in left field and being named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
The Cubs now have the core of their lineup secured through at least the 2024 season.
In addition to Happ and Hoerner, here are the Cubs players with guaranteed contracts next season:
Marcus Stroman (can opt out after this year)
Plus Kyle Hendricks, Cody Bellinger, Yan Gomes, Tucker Barnhart and Brad Boxberger have options.
Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Patrick Wisdom and several others are under team control for multiple seasons beyond 2023.
Hoyer had spoken in the offseason of not wanting to have extension talks into the season but seemed to slightly amend that just before Opening Day.
“To me, that’s always a player thing – the in-season stuff,” Hoyer said on March 30. “I don’t have to hit a fastball or play left field, so it doesn’t affect me. I can sit at my desk any day. That’s a player issue, not me. But I am super respectful of that. I know how hard it is to perform in general and having negotiations going on can be really difficult for some guys and so I respect the fact that guys won’t do it.”
Happ was at peace with going through the process if no deal was done but valued his time in Chicago and experiencing the atmosphere he feels at Wrigley Field. Last season, he dealt with trade rumors around the trade deadline, but stayed with the team — all that was a learning experience.
“I think going through feeling like you’re going to get traded and having that experience at the deadline is probably something that helped just enjoy the day to day,” Happ said on March 29. “Enjoy being here, enjoy the fanbase. You play with other guys that end up other places. It’s OK. That part of it is, it’s not the end of your career when you’re not playing where you came up.”
For the next four years, Happ won’t have to worry about that. He’ll still continue to call Wrigley Field home for a few more seasons.
“Obviously I’ve never been anywhere else,” Happ said early in Spring Training. “I don’t have a really good feel for how anybody else goes about the process. Being someone who’s only worn this jersey and has come up through this system, I take a lot of pride in this place. All that stuff about being here and being a Cub and enjoying being a Cub for as long as I can.”