It Remains Imperative to Extend Nico Hoerner, Who Says the Cubs Have “Done Nothing But Right” By Him

Yes, he’s still under team control for three more seasons, but it feels like now is the time to extend Nico Hoerner. Heck, we’ve been saying it since late last summer.

As Hoerner was emerging as a more-than-capable big league shortstop and his bat was taking steps toward being above-average, it was very easy to see that Hoerner was going to be valuable to the Chicago Cubs – in whatever role – for more than the next three years, when he would otherwise be hitting free agency at 28 years old. And going into his first year of arbitration, it just seemed such a natural time to try to put together a five or six-year deal. Hoerner might be looking to guarantee himself life-changing money, and you know you’re not going to be non-tendering him any time soon – so take a little risk in terms of a financial guarantee in exchange for having Hoerner locked into your organization for a while.

So far, that hasn’t happened, but we know the talks have been, and are, taking place. The impetus, if not the urgency, to get a deal done feels even stronger now than it did last year. Not only did Hoerner finish out the season strong, but he also showed this offseason that he really will do whatever it takes to help the Cubs succeed, eagerly moving to second base to accommodate Dansby Swanson. That move had the potential to put a dent in Hoerner’s career earnings, but he wants to win. And he knows that Swanson’s presence at shortstop, and his own at second base, could help the Cubs win.

For a guy who has worked his way up through the system, who every day is such a strong model for young players that Pete Crow-Armstrong described Hoerner as what it means to be a Cub, I think there could be tremendous organizational value in getting an extension done. The message it sends to Hoerner, sure, but think about the message it sends to every young player working his way up through the minors. If you believe Hoerner does embody what you want the Cubs to be about, then show everyone. Put your money where your mouth is, and I think you’d find it creates more benefits than just having Hoerner in place for years to come.

Like Jed Hoyer and Ian Happ, Hoerner isn’t going to talk about specifics publicly. But it’s not like he’s hiding the fact that he’s been happy with the organization.

“(Jed Hoyer has) been honest in his communication throughout,” Hoerner told The Athletic. “I’m going to continue to keep that stuff in-house for sure. I appreciate the sentiment of not doing things in-season, but we’ll see how it goes …. I love being here. I have a guaranteed — unless I’m traded — three more seasons here. The thought of everything that can happen in three years of baseball is pretty amazing. And that I get to do it as part of this organization is awesome. I love coming to work here every day. There are so many boxes that are checked being a part of this organization. They’ve done nothing but right by me. I’m in a good spot.”

Continue to do right by him, Cubs. Do what it takes to get an extension done.

Of course, I’m not unaware of how rare extensions have been for the Cubs. Since the Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro extensions a decade ago, it’s been Kyle Hendricks and David Bote (four years ago). That’s it.

I hope the conversations do continue with Hoerner, and I hope we all get a pleasant surprise in the coming weeks.

https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1627086989689516041

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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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