The Chicago Cubs Are Totally Going to Try to Extend Nico Hoerner This Offseason

The deepest dive will necessarily come in the winter as arbitration approaches, but here’s the early reality: the Chicago Cubs are absolutely going to try to extend Nico Hoerner this offseason. I can just tell it’s coming.

Hoerner, 25, has emerged this year as an above-average bat, capable of playing multiple positions, including excellent shortstop. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time for 2023, with two more years to follow. It’s just a very, very natural time for the Cubs and Hoerner to have the conversation: hey, want to lock in some guaranteed money in exchange for letting us extend you through a couple of those free agent years?

The other reason for the Cubs to be very willing to extend Hoerner right now is that you know that doing so is really not going to preclude you from doing anything else over the next several years, positionally or financially.

We got into it a lot on the latest ‘Onto Waveland’ podcast, but my general point was this: if you believe in Hoerner’s ability to be (1) a steady bat, and (2) capable of playing almost any defensive position if necessary, then there’s absolutely no reason not to try aggressively to extend him. No matter what version of the team you formulate for 2024, 25, 26, 27, etc., it’s highly likely that you’ll be able to use a Nico Hoerner in one way or another.

And in the meantime, you get in a cost-certain AAV on a five or six-year deal, at a very digestible level since he’s only just now reaching arbitration.

Also? The guy is 25, is already a leader, has gotten better with time in the big leagues, and probably has upside from here. Extending good players is, generally speaking, a good idea.

It all just makes so much sense.

That’s probably why the usually-cagey Jed Hoyer seemingly isn’t being quite as cagey when it comes to Hoerner’s future.

From Cubs.com:

On Thursday morning at Wrigley Field, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer acknowledged that the front office will be weighing multiyear deals for players currently in the fold.

“Certainly, when you think about where we’re spending money or building a team,” Hoyer said, “we absolutely have people in-house we want to extend beyond where their arbitration years are. I think that’s without question.”

Hoyer was then asked about Hoerner, specifically.

The Cubs’ front-office leader repeated the final line of his previous answer: “That’s without question.”

On the one hand, it’s really not saying much to admit you’d like to extend Nico Hoerner, specifically, beyond his years of team control. Every team would at this point. But you have to remember, Hoyer is a guy who *never* talks about extension negotiations or even related topics. He just says that nothing good can come from talking about it publicly, and prefers to keep it all in-house. So for him to even touch the topic of a specific player extension with a ten foot pole is notable.

(Given the Anthony Rizzo drama from last year, he’s probably right that nothing good can come from things getting out into the public, even if it makes for interesting content.)

Hoyer also praised Hoerner at length for the player and person he’s become:

For his part, Nico Hoerner says what you’d expect, though I choose to buy it completely, mostly because I really want an extension to happen: “I love being here,” Hoerner said. “And I think being here from rebuild to the next great team, or whatever you want to call it, would be one of the coolest things you can do in a career. It’d be incredibly satisfying. I love Chicago.”

Yes. I think it’s pretty clear extension talks are going to happen this offseason. There are two sides to these negotiations, of course, and you can’t safely or fairly assume a deal will get done, but I think this one makes so much sense for so many reasons. I hope the urgency is there to make it happen.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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