The Chicago Cubs have already traded away most of their core from the mid to late 2010s, though catcher Willson Contreras remains on the team. However, his days calling Chicago home may be numbered. With one year left on his contract, the trade rumors are undoubtedly going to swirl as we head into the offseason.
In fact, Bleacher Report recently published an article in which they suggested that the Cubs trade Contreras to the Miami Marlins. They point out that the Marlins’ catcher position has been worth -2.0 rWAR this year, while they have collectively posted a .556 OPS. From the Marlins’ perspective, the move makes sense for a team that took a big step backward this season after making the postseason last year for the first time since 2003.
There was talk of such a trade earlier this year, though it didn’t materialize. Sure, this would help the Marlins, but what about the Cubs? Let’s take a closer look at what they’re proposing.
Chicago Cubs would get a highly regarded young pitcher in return
In return, the article suggests that the Marlins send pitching prospect Max Meyer to Chicago. Meyer is currently the third-highest rated prospect in the Marlins’ system and #30 in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. This year, he was great at Double-A Pensacola, posting a 2.41 ERA in 20 starts. So far, at Triple-A Jacksonville, he’s made one start in which he lasted five innings, giving up one earned run while striking out ten.
Again, this makes sense for the Marlins because they have a ton of young pitching both at the major league level and in their farm system, so they’d be trading from a strength to address a weakness.
However, there are a couple of concerns from the Cubs’ perspective. The article was unclear as to whether this would be a one-for-one deal, but if it is, that would leave a major hole at the catching position for Chicago, made even worse by the fact that the backup spot has been a revolving door all year.
As we’ve pointed out before, the Cubs lack a clear succession plan at catcher if Contreras leaves. Miguel Amaya still is highly regarded, but he did not have a good season at Double-A Tennessee, spent most of it hurt and is not close to major league ready. The Marlins could offer the once-highly regarded Jorge Alfaro as part of the deal, though at 28 he seems to have regressed over the past two years.
The other concern is that the Cubs would be trading their last big chip for one player, which is a departure from many of the other deals they’ve made recently in which they have acquired several lower-tiered prospects to build up their farm system. As highly regarded as Meyer is, it would be a big risk. And of course, such a move could alienate an already frustrated Chicago fanbase.
The Marlins likely would not do this deal unless they could sign Contreras to an extension. In any case, Contreras for Meyer is an interesting proposal. Would you do that deal? Let us know.