Braves lay blueprint for Cubs to follow

The approach of the Atlanta Braves should give the Cubs an idea of what to do with their core

The Atlanta Braves are the reigning champs and their title window is far from over. Another postseason is in sights and although some familiar faces have departed since last season, the bulk of the core remains intact. Moreover, they are here to stay. Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Matt Olson, Ronald Acuna Jr., Michael Harris II, Kyle Wright, and Ian Anderson are all locked up for the forseeable future. Dansby Swanson could be next. With an already strong team chemistry, this Atlanta core will get to see a lot of wins together.

So, why am I bringing this up? It was not too long ago, the Cubs had a strong core. Now, in a rebuilding era, the Cubs have an idea of what their next core could look like. Here are a few names the Cubs should consider signing long-term.

SS Nico Hoerner

In the middle of it is Nico Hoerner. The Cubs SS has taken a significant leap forward (.291 average) in his offensive game along with showing us dazzling defensive plays.

“I love playing for the Cubs,” said Hoerner, who leads the Cubs in hitting at .291 after a three-hit night in the Cubs’ win over the Cardinals Wednesday night.

“I think that being here, being part of the next great team here would be one of the coolest things you could do as an athlete,” he said. “Being there from the quote-unquote rebuild, or whatever you want to call it, to the next championship would be an incredible thing to do.”

Hoerner has proved this season that he is the top prospect the Cubs and city of Chicago were hoping for. He is an ideal candidate to be signed long-term and be apart of the next great Cubs team.

OF Ian Happ

The Happer was subject to trade rumors but remained with the Cubs through the trade deadline. Hopefully, it was for the best as the front office can work on an extension with the 28-year old All-Star OF. Batting .278 with 13 homers and 58 runs batted in, Happ has been one of the most consistent offensive pieces.

“We’ll see what happens with this group,” first-time Cubs All-Star Ian Happ said. “There’s been a lot of talk about the last group, but with this group I think there’s an opportunity to maybe have it be a little bit different.

“But as players, it’s out of your control. We’ll see if anybody else follows the [Braves’] lead. I don’t know.”

There is a lot of uncertainty with his future, but the Cubs have the time and money to get a deal done.

SP Justin Steele

Steele has completely turned around his season. He started off average, but has been on a dominant tear. In his last seven games, Steele is sporting a strong 1.45 ERA. Additionally, his season ERA sits at a comfortable 3.25. In his second big league season, Steele has grown and alongside fellow starter Keegan Thompson, the Cubs have two budding stars.

OF Christopher Morel

It may be too early to sign Morel to an extension, however, the Braves signed Michael Harris to an extension not even a full season into his career. Morel has provided a Javy Baez type spark and bodes a similar level of excitement. He gives the Cubs tons of versatility and does everything on the field. He better be locked up sooner rather than later.

C Willson Contreras

He may not be here next season. He may be on the older side to be apart of the core. All I see is a player who has spent his entire career with one organization and has brought a level of love that is rarely seen. If I were Jed, this man would have been signed a long time ago. He should be part of the next core.

Other players that should be in the mix: SP Keegan Thompson, 2B Nick Madrigal, LHP Brandon Hughes 

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