Cubs rumors: New report casts doubt on a potential Kyle Hendricks extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
In a previous report that appeared to start the offseason a productive note for Chicago Cubs fans, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported that Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs were in talks for a potential contract extension.
The Cubs, who hold a $16 million option for Hendricks in 2024, could reasonably float the idea of a multi-year extension with the team's longest-tenured member to potentially lower the average annual value in consideration of MLB's luxury tax.
However, a report this week from ESPN's Jesse Rogers suggests that the Cubs and Hendricks have not been in extension talks during the still-young offseason.
Rogers appeared on ESPN Chicago's Waddle & Silvy, saying that in addition to not hearing anything about a potential extension between Hendricks and Cubs, the Cubs simply exercising his option is more likely.
"I don’t discount the chance of signing up another contract, but I just don’t think it’s imminent or around the corner. I don’t think they’ve had any discussions about a long-term deal. The first step will be the option," Rogers said on Wednesday's episode.
While Hendricks' return to the Cubs is both a sensible move that would be popular with the fanbase, there is reason to be timid in locking down The Professor as a logjam of younger pitchers emerges on the North Side.
Though rumors have swirled of the Cubs pursuing Rays' starter Tyler Glasnow in a trade in an offseason in which several intriguing free agent options are available, there will also need to be decisions made within the organization.
With both Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon guaranteed to be back and the likelihood of options being given to both Kyle Hendricks and Marcus Stroman, the Cubs have several pitchers that had rotation time in 2023 that would be left in unsure roles.
It's widely assumed that left-hander Drew Smyly, coming off a down season, will opt-in to the second-year of his contract, earning him $10.5 million.
Before even considering the potential impact of upstart minor league pitchers like Ben Brown and Cade Horton, the Cubs will also have to define roles for Javier Assad, Jordan Wicks and Hayden Wesneski on next year's club.
While there's no way of knowing what level of confidence the organization has in each of the aforementioned pitchers, there's no doubt that their roles will play a part in how the Cubs' approach their future with Kyle Hendricks.