How Cubs outfielder Ian Happ is approaching extension talks

Will an extension Happ-en this spring?

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The Cubs’ Ian Happ is deeply involved in his contract negotiations.

The Cubs’ Ian Happ is deeply involved in his contract negotiations.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

MESA, Ariz. — Some players prefer to leave extension talks to their agents, asking only to be looped in as negotiations are near the finish line. Cubs left fielder Ian Happ is not one of those players.

“All that stuff plays out behind closed doors, and different guys go about it different ways,” Happ said Thursday. “But I’ve always been involved in everything that I do. It’s something that I enjoy doing, and have an understanding, I think it’s important.”

Happ is heavily involved in the MLB Players Association, spending the last couple years as the Cubs’ union representative before being named to the MLBPA executive subcommittee as a pension rep. He’s also an alternate on the competition committee.

When Happ won his arbitration case against the Cubs in 2021, he was the first to do so in over three decades. Now, he’s in his final year of club control and in extension talks with the Cubs.

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that he’d had “good dialogue” with both Happ and shortstop Nico Hoerner’s camps but did not disclose how far extension negotiations had progressed, per team policy.

“Being someone who’s only worn this jersey and has come up through the system,” Happ said, “I take a lot of pride in this place and all that stuff about being here and being a Cub and enjoying being a Cub for as long as it lasts.”

Happ earned his first All-Star selection last year, took home a Gold Glove, and then watched MLB owners set a record in freeagent spending this past offseason.

Then there’s the depth of next year’s free-agent market.

“It all factors in,” Happ said when asked about the potential for Rafael Devers’ extension with the Red Sox and reports of the Padres pursuing a long-term deal with Manny Machado to raise Happ’s standing within that class. “It’s all connected, and all those things definitely come into play. If you’re not looking at the whole picture, you’re probably not doing your job, right?”

Amaya progressing

Cubs catching prospect Miguel Amaya isn’t fully medically cleared, building up his workload behind the plate and progressing in a running program after suffering a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot in September. But he has been catching bullpens, throwing to bases and is fully cleared to hit.

“It’s always a blessing in here,” Amaya said of returning to spring training after being limited in camp last year. “Everything is another opportunity to do what I love, my passion. Being around all these guys motivates me to do better every day and be the best version of myself.”

Amaya was working back from a November 2021 Tommy John surgery when he injured his foot and ankle trying to break up a double play last season.

We’ll do it live

Lefty Justin Steele and right-hander Adrian Sampson threw the first live batting practice sessions of Cubs camp on Thursday. Hoerner and fellow infielder Nick Madrigal faced Steele. Right fielder Seiya Suzuki and catcher Dom Nunez faced Sampson.

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