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BCB After Dark: What’s gonna Happ-en?

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks how much longer will Ian Happ be a Cub.

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Chicago Cubs v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so glad to see you stop in this chilly evening. I hope you had a terrific day and that you’re ready for an even better night. Let us take your coat for you. The dress code is casual. There’s still a few good tables available. Let us know if we can do anything to make your evening more pleasant. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Last night I asked you if the Cubs should have matched or beaten the deal that José Abreu got from the Astros. That got a lot of you talking and a lot of you voting. In the end, 88 percent of you thought the Cubs did the right thing by not giving Abreu a third year. For what it’s worth, and I have no idea how reliable this is, there is a report that the Cubs offered two years and $40 million, which differs only by not adding a third year. That’s the offer I would have made were I running the Cubs.

The United States beat Iran 1-0 to advance to the Round of 16 in the FIFA World Cup earlier today. They will face the Netherlands on Saturday for a spot to the Quarterfinals. If you’re the type of person who only follows soccer for one month every four years, the Netherlands are a pretty good team, but they’re not better than the English team that the US outplayed on Black Friday and were unfortunate to come away with a scoreless draw. So I’m saying there’s a chance. The US will be underdogs, but it would only be a minor upset if they won.

Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

OK, I’m going to try to work the Christmas jazz in slowly. First up, we have a very sparse but lively piano performance from the great Bill Evans of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Normally I don’t do any film stuff on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, but I still need your help with our Winter Noir Classic, which is mostly a way to give us all something to talk about on the cold winter nights when there’s no baseball news. And hopefully it will be a lot of fun.

The nominations that I got last night was Scarlet Street, The Third Man, Night and the City and Brighton Rock, the last of which I haven’t seen. I also suggested several classic noir films myself which you can go back and look at. I’d like to do a 16 film bracket, which would give me 15 evenings of content. But I’m willing to go more if there are a lot of suggestions.

I got one voice arguing that we should limit the bracket to just “true” noir from the period of 1940 to 1960. I’m leaning that way myself, if only because I thought that if this works out, we could do a neo-noir bracket next winter when we’re looking for something to talk about then. But I’m still willing to hear counter arguments. Also, if we do limit it to “true” noir, I’m not going to be pedantic about the dates. If you’ve got something from 1939 or 1962 that you think qualifies as classic noir, I’m willing to consider it.

Also, while most of it is, classic film noir does not have to be in black and white.

Finally, Casablanca. Not noir. Great movie. Arguably the greatest film of all-time. But it’s not film noir.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.

It’s been noted that the Cubs have not done a very good job of locking up their stars on long-term extensions. Anthony Rizzo was signed to an extension early in his career that bought out his first two years of free agency and Kyle Hendricks was signed to an extension. But other than that, not much. David Bote, I guess.

It’s not like the Cubs’ haven’t tried to sign their players to extensions. Maybe not Kris Bryant, who seemed determined to test the market, or Willson Contreras, whom they seemed to have soured on, but the offers the Cubs made to Javier Báez and Rizzo were certainly in line with what those two players ended up getting in free agency. But those players were hoping for more when they turned down the Cubs’ offers.

So we’ve seen player after player leave over the past few seasons. Now it’s Ian Happ’s turn.

Happ has been a frustrating player since his 2017 debut with the Cubs. The Cubs even sent Happ down to Triple-A Iowa in 2019 and left him there for more than half a season as he worked to cut down on his strikeouts and improve his outfield defense. The talent was certainly there, but the results often weren’t.

But of course, 2022 was a different story for Happ. His power was actually down, but he cut down on his strikeouts significantly, which led to a career-high batting average of .271. But even better, he turned into a plus defender in left field. Happ was named to his first All-Star team and was awarded a Gold Glove for his defense.

I’ve already asked you if you think the Cubs should sign Happ to an extension. Fifty-eight percent of you thought the Cubs should. But today I’m going to ask you if the Cubs will sign him to an extension.

Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma reported earlier this month that the Cubs intend to speak with Happ (and Nico Hoerner) about contract extensions. (The Athletic sub. req.) That they haven’t yet doesn’t really bother me—the front office should be focused on trades and free agents at the moment. The time for extension talks are January and February.

But of course, the Cubs can’t just decide to extend Happ—he has to agree to their offer. And if the two sides don’t seem to be close on what they think Happ is worth, then he becomes an important trade chit, either this winter or closer to the trade deadline.

So tonight’s question is “Will the Cubs sign Happ to an extension or trade him?” I suppose they could let him leave as a free agent like they are doing with Willson Contreras as well.


What’s going to happen with the Cubs and Ian Happ?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Happ will sign a contract extension and remain a Cub
    (93 votes)
  • 19%
    The Cubs will trade him this offseason
    (54 votes)
  • 34%
    The Cubs will trade Happ during the 2023 season
    (97 votes)
  • 12%
    Happ will leave as a free agent next winter
    (34 votes)
278 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by. I hope we’ve made your evening a little more pleasant. If you checked anything, we can get that for you now. If you need us to call a ride for you, just let us know. Stay warm out there. Get home safely. And join us again tomorrow evening for more BCB After Dark.