This is not a drill. Citing sources, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times is reporting that the Cubs and Javy Báez have begun negotiations on a “potential long-term extension.” Though he buried the lede in a big way and there are obviously no specifics available at this point, this could function as a decent chunk of the Cubs’ offseason plans due to the money it would add to the payroll. Javy is projected to earn only $9.3 million in 2020 so any extension figures to boost that significantly.
Theo Epstein spoke during his end-of-season press conference about having more urgency when it came to extending those players who are nearing the ends of their respective rookie deals, and Javy is at the top of that group. Kris Bryant is up there as well, but his situation is complicated by the pending service-time grievance and a salary that is projected to be twice what Javy earns next season.
Agreeing to an extension with Báez does not rule out getting something done with Bryant and could even make a long-term deal more possible if the numbers work out the right way. However, as Wittenmyer notes, it “certainly would keep Bryant’s status in play throughout the winter, then possibly at the trade deadline and again next winter, barring a move before then.”
This is something to keep an eye on over the next few weeks, as it could speak volumes of what the Cubs plan to do over the remainder of the winter and beyond. Having an MVP caliber player locked in for several years will go a long way toward clarifying future strategy and would also give Marquee Sports Network a star to market for the next several years. Same for Bryant, so they should get to work on him too.