(670 The Score) Amid a lack of activity in free agency and the trade market, the Cubs have been working toward another goal.
They've been discussing a long-term extension with star shortstop Javier Baez, who's under contract through 2021. Given the Cubs' uncertain future and quiet offseason, locking Baez up has become a priority -- not just because of what he brings them on the field but also because it could create some stability at a key position and help the team better plan for its long-term future.
Neither Baez nor Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein wanted to tip his hand about details when asked at the Cubs Convention about recent negotiations, but both sides acknowledged there have been conversations.
"We just finished the arbitration, so I don't know," Baez said. "It's really up to them. I have no comment about it. When the right deal comes, we will be ready for it."
Baez, 27, has been an All-Star each of the past two seasons. He hit .281 with 29 homers, 85 RBIs and an .847 OPS in 138 games in 2019, when a thumb fracture sidelined him for most of September.
In 2018, Baez had a career year with 34 homers and 111 RBIs as he finished runner-up in the National League MVP race.
No party has divulged details of a potential contract, but a six-year extension in the vicinity of $200 million would seem logical.
"Theo and the front office know what they are doing and know what they want for this team," Baez said about the uncertain for him and the Cubs.
Baez was asked if an extension could get done soon. He indicated he would prefer all matters to be finished or tabled by the time the regular season opens in late March.
"It's up to my agent," Baez said. "My agency is doing a great job. Hopefully if it happens, (it's) before the season begins. If not, there is no pressure. I just need to play the game. I already said I would like to be here my whole career."
After the Cubs' disappointing 84-win season, Baez is primarily focused on the team regaining its best form and reaching the playoffs.
"We need to get back to other teams talking about us like it used to be," Baez said of the Cubs' confidence. "Not us talking about other teams and paying attention to that. I said the same thing last year. We just did not do it. We paid too much attention to other teams and other stats. That is the way to fail."