The Chicago Cubs have locked up a core homegrown player. The Cubbies and outfielder Ian Happ have finalized a three-year extension covering 2024-26, the team announced Wednesday. The deal is worth $61 million and includes a full no-trade clause.
Happ joins Nico Hoerner, Dansby Swanson, and Seiya Suzuki as core Cubs position players under contract through at least 2026. and Swanson signed with Chicago as a free agent this past offseason. Starter Jameson Taillon is signed long-term as well.
The Cubs and Happ were unable to agree to an extension in spring training, though obviously he did not set an Opening Day deadline for a deal, as many players do. Here's what Happ told the Associated Press at the end of camp:
"You play with other guys that end up other places and it's OK," Happ said. "It's not the end of your career when you're not playing where you came up. There definitely will be moments here and there. It's appreciating that, appreciating getting to play with this group. Those are definitely the things that I learned the last two seasons."
Happ, 28, was the No. 9 pick in the 2015 draft. He made his MLB debut in May 2017 and, for the most part, has been a middle of the lineup mainstay since. He is a career .250/.341/.461 hitter who has averaged 25 homers per 162 games, and last season he made a few mechanical changes that allowed him to cut his strikeout rate significantly.
Happ was scheduled to become a free agent after this season. With him off the board, Shohei Ohtani tops the market. The next best free agent hitter now is either Matt Chapman or Amed Rosario, or the injured Rhys Hoskins. It's a very thin free agent class.. The singular
The Cubs are 6-4 with a plus-13 run differential in the early going. Happ is hitting .314/.467/.514 with one home run and nearly as many walks (10) as strikeouts (11) in the early going.