Per Jesse Rogers and Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Cubs have decided to option second baseman Nico Hoerner to begin the 2021 MLB season.
As Passan notes, service time is likely a driving force behind this decision. If Hoerner remains in the minor leagues for 36 days, the Cubs will gain an extra year of contractual control over the young second baseman. From a business standpoint, Jed Hoyer and co. are utilizing an available option that will save the Cubs money and allow them extra time to work out a deal with Hoerner down the road.
A stellar Spring Training showing by Hoerner caught the attention of many eyes in the Cubs organization. Hoerner has certainly made his case to crack the big league roster on Opening Day by posting an impressive .353 average and 1.052 OPS in 34 at-bats this spring.
But as was the case for Kris Bryant in 2015, business will take priority in this scenario and Hoerner will have to wait it out in the minors before getting the call back to the show, which will likely occur sometime in May.
Both David Bote and Eric Sogard are expected to be the second basemen on the Cubs’ depth chart come Opening Day.