Jed Hoyer: Cubs would 'love' to keep Ian Happ on a long-term extension, are happy to negotiate during the season


(670 The Score) After signing second baseman Nico Hoerner to a three-year contract extension that bought out one year of his free agency, the Cubs would like to reach an extension with left fielder Ian Happ as well, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer reiterated Thursday as Opening Day arrived.

The sides haven’t lined up yet in negotiations, but the Cubs will keep the door open to negotiating during the regular season. Happ hasn’t completely closed the door to negotiating during the season, but the current signs certainly point to him heading for free agency after the 2023 season.

“It’s not really our policy (to not negotiate during the season),” Hoyer said on the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score on Thursday morning. “I always think that for the most part, when people talk about not negotiating after Opening Day, it’s actually more of a player-driven thing. They want to be really focused and not think about it. And from our standpoint, I mean, I don’t have to hit any fastballs, and so I think to myself, if that’s a distraction they can handle, then that’s OK. So as a rule, that’s more of a player-driven policy than our policy. I struggle through this whole concept of talking about negotiations publicly because I do think when you talk about negotiations or where the two sides, it can kind of erode the trust between the two sides. But I’ll just say that both sides have worked really hard on a deal. Obviously, we would have a deal if we were perfectly aligned right now. But all that said, I’d love to keep Ian here long-term. I think (like) a lot of the things I said about Nico, he’s a great person, works hard every day to get better, represents the organization incredibly well and is a really good two-way player. I hope at some point we get something done. When that might be, I don’t know. But we’ll keep working on it, whether it’s quietly in season with no one knowing or maybe it’s after the season. But certainly, the fact that we didn’t line up now, in my mind at least, does not shut the door on something going forward. Because for the same thing I said about Nico, I’d love to have him here for a long time.”

Happ, 28, is coming off an All-Star season in 2022 in which he hit .271 with 17 homers, 72 RBIs and a .781 OPS in 158 games. He also won his first Gold Glove.

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