Javy Báez made it unanimous Friday.
After Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant told various media outlets over the past week that the big-market Cubs have the means to sign all three impending free agents if they choose, Báez on Friday joined the championship-core chorus.
“For sure,” he said. “They’ve got the decision. It’s not up to us. Hopefully, we stay together. If not, I wish the best to them.”
The Big Three obviously are right — at least “theoretically,” as Bryant said.
But one often overlooked factor could come into play in an increasingly significant way the longer the club waits to re-engage in talks that fell short in all three cases in recent years — including with Rizzo this spring.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Friday that uncertainty surrounding upcoming labor negotiations is “an element” that could impact the payroll budget into next season, specifically when it comes to what the Cubs might be able to do with long-term extensions.
“Hopefully, the CBA will get resolved as it has in the past,” he said. “But it’s definitely a variable. It’s kind of hard to handicap what it all means.”
The current collective bargaining agreement expires December 1, and tensions between the sides have been rising since soft payroll “caps” and slow-moving free agent markets resulted in pre-COVID-19 dips in average salaries during a time of record revenues — and through contentious negotiations over the 2020 and ’21 pandemic seasons.…