Javier Baez, Cubs halt extension talks during shutdown; star infielder says he's 'very happy in Chicago'

The Chicago Cubs and star shortstop Javier Baez have suspended talks of a contract extension as the 2020 Major League Baseball continues to be delayed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Baez, who would hit free agency after the 2021 season, told ESPN's Marly Rivera that his representatives and the Cubs had "really good" discussions about a long-term contract extension earlier this year. But negotiations have been on hold while team and league officials work to determine a safe return for baseball.

"Obviously, we want to reach an agreement," Baez told ESPN. "But right now everything is on hiatus. Just like it happened with baseball, we decided to leave it there. We haven't talked about it anymore."

According to ESPN, the two sides had originally set a deadline of about a week before the regular season, which was set to begin March 26 before the pandemic. Prior to the shutdown, progress was being made.

"I'm very happy in Chicago. I believe it's one of the best organizations in the major leagues," Baez told ESPN. "We had several conversations but never focused on a deadline. They were very amicable conversations where we communicated well with each other."

The homegrown Cubs infielder, who was the ninth overall pick for the cubs in the 2011 MLB Draft, expressed interest in getting to play for one team for his entire MLB career. 

"It's a blessing when a player can wear the same uniform their whole life -- but it's a business. For me, it's about loyalty. This is the team that has seen me grow up," Baez told ESPN. "Of course, many great players have played for many different teams in their careers. My favorite player, Manny Ramirez, has been on a lot of teams. Even though everyone identifies him with Boston, when he left, Manny was always Manny. That's how it'll be for me. I'll always be myself."

Baez, who would be entering his age-27 season, is coming off a solid 2019 campaign in which he hit .281/.316/.531 with 38 doubles, four triples, 29 homers, 85 RBI and 89 runs in 138 games. He managed to post these numbers all while battling injuries in May and September that forced him to miss time.

Katherine Acquavella joined CBS Sports in 2018. Her work has appeared in Yankees Magazine and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Memories and Dreams magazine. She is a graduate of St. John's... Full Bio

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