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

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Wilson Ramos / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs have limited options if they choose to go the free agency route

MLB Trade Rumors shows 14 catchers in this winter’s free agent class. At first glance, you’d think that means the Cubs would have a ton of options when it comes to adding a new face behind the plate.

But you’d be very, very wrong.

Alex Avila announced his retirement this weekend, so cross him off the list. Two of the names mentioned are current Cubs – Robinson Chirinos and Austin Romine. Chirinos turns 38 next June so, despite his solid numbers, you have to have questions about him staying healthy and productive again in 2022. And, simply put, Austin Romine is not a viable option if you want to be even remotely competitive, as a team.

After bouncing back in a big way, Buster Posey and the Giants will surely continue their relationship. Kurt Suzuki and Jeff Mathis will both be nearing 40 years old and the three youngest catchers on the list: Tucker Barnhart, Christian Vasquez and Mike Zunino all have team options that could keep them with their respective clubs through next year.

Chicago could go with a Yan Gomes, Sandy Leon or Manny Pina – but, again, you’re talking about a dramatic drop off from what you’ve gotten from Contreras in recent years. Leon is dead weight offensively, but both Gomes and Pina, at least on paper, could be a fit. But, again, we just took a list of 14 possibilities and narrowed it down to just two viable options – and Chicago won’t be the only team inquiring, either.