Ian Happ extension ends another Yankees left field dream
By Adam Weinrib
Ah, well. On to dreaming of Spencer Jones.
All offseason long, while watching the Yankees' Bryan Reynolds trade talks stagnate and dissolve, we sang a different tune, imploring fans to wait. If the Pirates didn't want Jasson Dominguez, than the Yanks would just have to stand in line for the next opportunity, which should come midseason.
Hell, it could even be Ian Happ, the slugging Cubs left fielder! He was nearly traded at the 2022 deadline, but for whatever reason, Chicago held on. Maybe they believed in their 2023 chances. Maybe they were still reeling from what they'd done to the fan base the previous year, dismantling their core by trading Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez in a whirlwind.
Keeping Willson Contreras didn't ultimately do Chicago much good; not only did he walk after the season ended, but he turned coat to St. Louis. It appears they'll fare better with Happ, though.
After signing Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger this offseason, Happ and the Cubs came to an extension agreement on Wednesday afternoon. As the days go by, it looks likelier and likelier the Yankees will have to develop an internal solution in left.
Yankees Rumors: Ian Happ out of left field mix after signing Cubs extension
Happ's deal reportedly begins next season, which would've been his first year in a new uniform if he'd made it to free agency.
Perhaps he'll be a Yankee someday, but that discussion is irrelevant now; the Bombers' depth chart needs to be addressed as soon as possible, not in 2027.
Considering Happ has a podcast of his own on the Yankees-flavored Jomboy Media network and has remained close with current Yanks like Rizzo and Scott Effross, it seemed like a fun connection to forge. It didn't hurt that Happ made his first All-Star team in 2022, posted a 120 OPS+, and was zooming towards free agency until a few hours ago.
Other options in 2024's free agent cycle include Joc Pederson, Michael Brantley (currently injured), and Jurickson Profar, a fleet of familiar names. Looks like it's farm system or bust -- or a Reynolds change of heart -- for the Yankees moving forward.
Harrison Bader extension, anyone? Wouldn't want to create a second hall with a weakened market on the horizon, after all. As long as he returns healthy, that should be the Yankees' primary off-field objective.