Cubs Rumors: A Willson Contreras trade would net a young return

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

If the Cubs send Willson Contreras to Miami, expect a very young return.

We’ve seen Willson Contreras connected to the Phillies, Angels and Marlins in recent weeks. While it’s hard to envision a deal working out with Los Angeles given the makeup of the farm system, a deal between Miami and the Cubs is pretty easy to put together – at least on paper.

Of course, the Marlins knocked Chicago out in the Wild Card of last year’s postseason, the fatal blow for an organization that had put off re-tooling for years. Now, with the Cubs eyeing a full rebuild and Miami on the rise, the timing might be perfect to talk about a Contreras trade.

Contreras has two years remaining on his contract at a modest salary. The Marlins could improve behind the dish in a big way, while adding a monster bat in the middle of the order. But here’s where Cubs fans are going to lose it: despite Miami having all kinds of top-tier talent (Braxton Garret, Edward Cabrera, JJ Bleday – the list goes on and on) – reportedly none of those guys have been part of talks between the Fish and the Cubs.

We saw Jed Hoyer take a similar approach in the Yu Darvish trade – a crop of young, raw prospects who may or may not turn into anything long-term. It’s far too soon to call the package of Reginald Preciado, Owen Caissie, Ismael Mena and Yeison Santana and Zach Davies a bust. We’re going to have to take a wait-and-see approach on evaluating that deal, for sure.

If Chicago takes a similar approach in a Contreras trade, they’re punting the immediate future. At that point, trade everyone: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks – because you’re not competing for the next couple of years, at a minimum. Oh, and don’t forget – if the Cubs lose Contreras, they won’t have a single big league catcher on the roster either. 

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Miguel Amaya looks like he’ll be a force to be reckoned with – someday. But that day is not today – nor will it be at any point this season. So if you’re trying to keep up at home, we went from this:

"“We control him for two more years (Contreras) and I think that catching is a strength of this team as a result of having him on the roster.” Jed Hoyer said."

To being on the brink of zero catching depth at the big league roster. The team has all kinds of glaring issues right now and, so far, nothing has been done to address any of them. The Cubs had representatives at Corey Kluber’s recent showcase – but so did 24 other teams. Which is it going to be, Jed? Are we tearing it down, waiting in the wings to make a splash or somewhere in-between?

We need to pick a path and start down it. Look, I’m not mad about the offseason – at least not yet. But let’s figure it out. I got my World Series in my lifetime, two years before being diagnosed with brain cancer. I’m still kicking – and I want a second title, one way or another. This non-committal, pretend-like-we’re-a-small-market-team approach isn’t going to get that done.

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If trading Contreras gets us closer to becoming a legitimate championship contender again, so be it. We’ve got Amaya en route to Chicago in the years to come and, hopefully, he’ll pair up with the likes of Cristian Hernandez, Ed Howard and Brailyn Marquez as leaders of the next core.

That sounds pretty good to me.