Chicago Cubs lack a clear succession plan if they trade Willson Contreras

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Willson Contreras / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

Willson Contreras blasted a mammoth game-tying home run in Saturday’s loss to the Brewers, standing and admiring the shot – which measured in just shy of 470 feet. But it wasn’t enough, with the Chicago Cubs dropping an 11th consecutive matchup with Milwaukee.

The home run was Contreras’ 20th of the year, marking the third time in six big league campaigns he’s eclipsed the mark – including 2017 and 2019. While he hasn’t been the same offensive threat he’s been in the past, the Cubs catcher has shown continued improvement behind the plate again this year, cementing his place among the top tier of catchers in the league.

The question remains, though. Will that be motivation enough for Jed Hoyer and the front office to lock Contreras up with a long-term contract extension this winter? After watching Chicago trade not one or two, but all three of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo at the deadline, it’s hard to have a whole lot of faith in Contreras being kept in the fold past 2022.

If Hoyer and Contreras can’t align on a new deal, the Venezuelan-born backstop heads into next year in lame duck status – his final year of team control. It’s hard to imagine the front office just running out the clock and letting him play out 2022 only to walk at season’s end – but the question looms: if the Cubs trade their two-time All-Star catcher, who will get the majority of reps behind the dish next season?