Although I really don’t see any extensions happening in-season at this point, I’d think it would be critically important for Jed Hoyer to know – or have his best possible sense – whether he’s going to be able to retain one, two, or three of Anthony Rizzo, Javy Báez, and Kris Bryant after this season. Not only would that obviously impact whether you consider trading those guys in July, but it also would impact your plans at the deadline on the financial side, the near-term roster side, and how aggressively you trade (away or for) prospects.
But on that front, it’s all still really quite mum:
Jed Hoyer said of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez: "All three are iconic players for the Cubs, and deservedly so. … They're great players. What they've done here is really special. If there's a way to continue that relationship, we want to do that."
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) June 5, 2021
There is a way, of course, but what’s really meant here is if there’s a way to sign a contract that we think appropriately contemplates their reasonably projected future value. I think the Cubs really do want to engage with these guys on a new deal, but it became clear late in the offseason that they were simply not eager to ink an extension that approached what the guys might get in free agency. And since all three players had really significant upside to claim in free agency with a good season, I don’t know that any were eager to sign at a discount.
For his part, Rizzo is happy to point out the soaring dollars in the game today – new TV contracts and returning attendance and such – and note that, yes, the Cubs COULD sign all three players right now if they truly wanted to do whatever it took to get it done:
Anthony Rizzo is one of three Cubs stars — along with Kris Bryant and Javier Báez — who will be a a free agent after this season.
Can the Cubs afford to keep all three?
"If they want to, absolutely they can," the first baseman says.https://t.co/f2VClt7MWE
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) June 6, 2021
As we get closer to July, this topic – mostly dormant since March – is going to pop back up again. As I said up top, if you were Hoyer, you’d want as much info as possible about whether you can sign any of these guys at your price level (be it an extension or, more likely, in free agency). And then you would have to proceed through trade season balancing that information against the team’s competitiveness, the thought that this could be a “last dance” situation, and the plans you are no doubt already formulating for 2022.