The Chicago Cubs haven’t been able to work out a contract extension with star shortstop Javier Baez. While the two sides were reportedly working on trying to get a deal done, everything has been put on hold.
This time, it’s not because the Cubs and Baez hit some kind of impasse. This time, the reason they aren’t able to talk about an extension is because it’s against new rules established by Major League Baseball.
As Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation reports, an interim agreement by MLB and the player’s union has a transaction freeze on every team in the league. The freeze is more than simply trading or moving players off the roster. This freeze covers literally everything to do with the team and contracts with players.
Taylor points out that Baez isn’t the only Cubs player affected by the freeze. Just before it took effect on Saturday, the club optioned relief pitcher Dillon Maples to AAA Iowa. He also points out that it’s not clear as to why teams felt they needed to option some players to the minors ahead of the deadline.
Getting down to 26 players, or 29 if some reports are to be believed, is still something that won’t be needed to be done until later in the Spring Training schedule. Just when that will be is anyone’s guess, as there still isn’t a concrete plan for how the “rest” of spring training will work.
When it comes to Baez, the freeze might mean nothing, or it might have been the difference in the team working something out. The Cubs and their shortstop had made no bones about the fact they were trying to come to an extension agreement. Baez had gone public with his desire to get something done.
Earlier in the offseason, rumors said that Chicago and Baez had an opening day deadline. If the two sides hadn’t been able to get a deal done by that point, it would have to be picked up in the offseason. The way the Chicago Cubs have been dealing with their players in the last few years has fans worried about whether or not the core is going to stay together.
There has been quite a bit of talk about the team trying to trade Kris Bryant. For now, he’s still a member of the franchise. So is Javier Baez. The question that has been asked more than once this offseason is how long will that last?