Last season served as an education for Ian Happ, who dealt with a constant swirl of trade rumors in the weeks, and months, leading up to the Trade Deadline.
The syllabus might be different this year, but one way or another, those lessons will come in handy again in 2023.
Regardless of the Cubs’ place in the standings and their status as a buyer or seller, the 28-year-old is entering his final year of club control, setting him up to become a free agent for the first time in his career. An extension to remain in Chicago is always a possibility, but so is the idea that he could be embarking on his final year in a Cubs uniform.
“Chicago's the place that is home for me and the only thing that I've ever known,” said Happ, who was selected by the Cubs in the first round (No. 9 overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft. “As a player who's only known this, you feel pretty at home in the organization and with the group. It would be weird to wear another jersey; I would love to stay here and I would love to be a part of the next great Cubs team, but we'll see.”
That decision isn’t likely to come until next offseason, when Happ could find himself in the upper echelon of free agent hitters. Shohei Ohtani is set to be the No. 1 player on the market, but now that Manny Machado has signed an extension with the Padres, Happ could be one of the more appealing bats in the free agent class.