Cubs Rumors: So let’s talk about these Nolan Arenado trade rumors

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Is the front office ready to make a high-stakes gamble?

It’s not as cut-and-dry as it might seem, though. First, trading Willson Contreras, one of the best offensive catchers in the game, is a tough pill to swallow. When he’s been healthy, he’s been elite – and if the late-season defensive adjustments we saw him make play out over the course of the season, this is not just one of the best catchers, but one of the best players in baseball.

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But that’s not the biggest gamble in my mind. It’s that Arenado carries an opt out after 2021. So say the Cubs trade Contreras and Heyward for Arenado – and he does exactly what you’d hope: he rakes for the next two years, emerging as a powerhouse at the Friendly Confines.

He’d head into the 2021 offseason heading into his age-31 season. If he put up the kind of numbers he’s produced to this point in his career, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he doesn’t opt out. Because unlike some third basemen, he’s not only a monster at the dish, but he’s one of the best defenders in the game – regardless of position.

In other words, the Cubs could trade Bryant for prospects to help re-load the system (as Passan notes), while losing Contreras – only to see Arenado walk in two years, coincidentally the same time they stand to lose Bryant as things currently stand.

dark. Next. Projecting the team's Opening Day starting lineup

I’m not saying it’s not worth the risk. But it’s a high-risk, high-reward type of move. One thing’s for sure, though. It’s bold – and might just prove to be the shake-up Epstein has been searching for from his office at Gallagher Way.