A recent report suggest the Cubs are ‘very open’ to trading Willson Contreras.
Look, we already know. The Chicago Cubs will listen on literally any player on the roster this offseason. If the offer is right, anyone could be traded. That list includes two-time All-Star backstop Willson Contreras who, unlike several of his teammates, is still two years from hitting free agency.
A recent Joel Sherman report briefly mentions the Cubs when talking about the catchers market this offseason in relation to the New York Mets’ pursuit of former White Sox catcher James McCann.
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"“Realmuto is still out there. So is Yadier Molina. The Cubs are very open to trading Willson Contreras. The Mets, in other words, have options.”"
Of course, Realmuto and Molina are free agents this winter. The former represents one of the premier position players on the market and is widely regarded as the best all-around catcher in the game today. But that comes with a price tag. MLBTR predicted a five-year, $125 deal for Realmuto at the onset of the offseason. We’ll see how that plays out as the offseason progresses.
There will be teams that see that price tag and balk immediately – especially given the financial difficulties the league is grappling with. Molina, heading into his age 39 season, obviously represents a somewhat more affordable option. But given his standing and career accomplishments, it’s not like he’ll be available on the cheap.
That could lead to teams that lack financial capital, but boast a strong farm system to pivot to someone like Contreras, who, as I mentioned, still has two years of team control. He notably improved defensively this year, particularly in regards to hit pitch framing ability, and has always represented a well above-average offensive catcher.
We talked earlier this offseason about how a team like the Tampa Bay Rays could wind up being the perfect fit in a Contreras deal. But you know Jed Hoyer’s phone calls don’t stop there. There are several clubs that will undoubtedly have interest in the Cubs catcher, especially if they miss out on a McCann, Molina or Realmuto (acknowledging this trio represents a wide range in terms of price and skillset).
Most of the Cubs rumors we’ve heard or talked about revolve around Kris Bryant, who represents the team’s most obvious path to dramatically slashing payroll. But we shouldn’t forget about guys like Contreras or outfielder Ian Happ, both of whom have multiple years of control left and could net a stronger return than a guy who will purely serve as a rental.