Chicago Cubs: Five bold predictions for 2020 and beyond

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Both of these two will be in blue pinstripes past 2021

While much has been made of the Cubs inability to extend any of their core guys outside of Kyle Hendricks, next offseason will bring about extensions for Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and even Kris Bryant. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to keep everybody. Conspicuous in his absence from that list, Willson Contreras might be the odd man out with switch-hitter, and reliable defensive framer Victor Caratini hanging around and prospect Miguel Amaya inching closer towards Chicago.

Not that anyone (including me) wants to see Contreras go, but there have already been rumblings that Contreras might be the odd man out, as his trade value is high and his three full years of team control make him one of the most significant assets and trade chips in the game.

Elite catchers don’t grow on trees, and it’s easy to make the argument that Contreras is the best offensive catcher in the game. He’s also a year younger than J.T. Realmuto and four years younger than Yasmani Grandal, the only other catchers who are even in the same category as Contreras.

It’s also possible that Contreras could be bundled with say Jason Heyward to give the Cubs some fiscal flexibility and spending power going forward. The elite right fielder has been a disappointment and is still signed for four years and $96 million. Getting out from under that deal would probably make Theo Epstein and the front office very happy and allow them to extend most of the core and go out and spend in free agency.

Maybe even with a little, dare I say, reckless abandon? While losing Contreras would upset a lot of fans, if Amaya continues his ascent through the system and can be paired with Caratini, it may not be the worst pill to swallow.