Chicago Cubs: Cubs send Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward, and Adbert Alzolay to the Boston Red Sox for Mookie Betts.
Why it makes sense: There’s not much we have to say about Mookie Betts, as he’s one of the elite players in the game. However, a lot of fans would be upset if the Chicago Cubs were to give up Willson Contreras, one of the game’s top hitting catchers. Yet the Cubs are going to have to make some decisions soon about who they want to lock up long-term; they won’t be able to sign everyone to extensions.
The Cubs do have a solid replacement for Contreras in Victor Caratini, or they could go out and get a veteran such as Yasmani Grandal. There’s also Miguel Amaya, who’s still a couple of years away, but long-term he could be a replacement at catcher. (Of course, there’s no guarantee that will materialize.)
For the Red Sox, Contreras would be attractive because he’s still under three years of control. Besides catcher, they could also play him at first base, the outfield, or at DH. Given that there’s a good chance the Red Sox will lose J.D. Martinez this offseason, they could probably use all the help they can get. In this trade, Boston also would get a serviceable replacement in right field for Betts.
Why it wouldn’t make sense: Would the Red Sox really makethis trade? It might be a stretch to think so. Persuading them to take on Jason Heyward‘s contract would be a tall task. Plus, the Red Sox likely would want young, major-league ready starting pitching in return for Betts, and the Cubs just don’t have much to offer in that department. Adbert Alzolay has a lot of potential, but he’s unproven at the major league level to this point.
From the Cubs’ standpoint, taking on Betts would be a risk, as he’s only signed through 2020. Not to mention, he’s arbitration-eligible and is going to make a lot of money. Besides that, as is always the case with a league change, there would be questions on how Betts would handle his new surroundings. Would he have as much success with National League pitching? Would he be able to handle playing right at Wrigley Field? Hopefully, he would.