The Cubs are still listening to offers for both Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant.
For a team that’s supposedly not rebuilding, the Cubs sure know how to act like they are. After unloading their ace for a package of far-off prospects and non-tendering Kyle Schwarber only to see him sign a deal worth more than what he was projected to earn in arbitration, the team is still reportedly listening on two of their best remaining players in Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras.
Bryant, who turned 29 last week, is coming off the worst season of his professional career. He mustered just a 73 OPS+ and slugged only .351 – a far cry from his career marks of a 134 OPS+ and .508 slugging percentage. That fact, paired with his defensive versatility, should still give him a great deal of value on the market – despite his lone year of team control remaining.
We’ve heard all kinds of Kris Bryant rumors to this point, most recently connecting the former NL MVP to the New York Mets who, of course, swung a trade for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco last week as the Cleveland Indians dramatically slash payroll.
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Adding Bryant to a lineup that already features Lindor, Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil could propel the Mets to the top of the NL East – even after the Washington Nationals traded for longtime Pittsburgh slugger Josh Bell and signed Schwarber to a one-year, $10 million deal this offseason.
Now, the Mets aren’t the only potential suitor for Bryant. The Dodgers, who could be moving on from Justin Turner, make sense, as well. Can you imagine him suiting up for the reigning World Series champs? I’d rather not – although their loaded farm system certainly represents a potential gold mine.
As for Contreras, really, who wouldn’t want one of the best catchers in baseball? The Angels need help behind the dish and with Joe Maddon at the helm, the connection there is pretty evident. But as I said earlier in the offseason, I have trouble seeing the Contreras market come to a head until JT Realmuto makes his decision and signs with a team.
If he departs Philadelphia, the Phillies could pivot to Contreras. We know Dave Dombrowski has no problem unloading prospects if it makes his big league team more competitive and, don’t forget, the Phils haven’t made the postseason since 2011 – despite countless high-profile moves over the years.
The one thing that I’ve taken from the recent barrage of rumors isn’t so much about either of these guys – it’s about the two we’ve heard next to no reports on: Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez. The two seem like the Cubs’ likeliest extension candidates at this point in time, but if both Bryant and Contreras are unloaded – it’s hard to feel that any single player is truly safe.