It’s Black Friday – a day where deal-searching hobgoblins show the very worst in humanity as they scour department store shelves in hopes of finding some savings. The graciousness that comes with Thanksgiving vanishes into thin air with a ‘poof’ and it’s about getting your hands on what you need ahead of the gift-giving season.
With that in mind, MLB.com offered up several potential ‘Black Friday trade ideas’ – and one of them involves the Chicago Cubs and two-time All-Star catcher Willson Contreras.
Now, this is a hypothetical trade – but one that’s definitely rooted in some of the rumors and swirlings we’ve heard in the past, as well. We know the Miami Marlins are looking to improve behind the plate and given the brutal free agent class of catchers, a trade seems like the way to go about achieving that goal.
Contreras is heading into his final year of team control in 2022 – and, barring a long-term contract extension, looks like a sure-fire July trade candidate. He’s coming off a season where he definitely fatigued given his immense workload, but still managed a 108 OPS+/109 wRC+ and 2.1 fWAR.
He threw out a career-low 21 percent of baserunners, but still ranked solidly above-average with the glove. His leadership, which is driven largely by a passion that’s contagious to everyone around him, is a huge factor here, as well – and one that the Cubs would sorely miss should they decide to trade him in the coming months.
But we know Chicago is focused on the future. That means attaining long-term assets in any way possible – and that’s exactly the premise behind this move, which would send Contreras to Miami for former Athletics prospect and left-hander Jesus Luzardo, who came to Miami in the Starling Marte trade last summer.
Chicago Cubs need arms – and Jesus Luzardo still has plenty of promise
There’s no two ways about it. 2021 was a pretty brutal showing for the 24-year-old southpaw, who made a dozen starts with Miami, limping to a 6.44 ERA on the year. He really struggled to limit the free passes this year, but given he’s controllable through 2026, there’s still plenty of upside here.
"Luzardo struggled mightily last year, including with Miami (6.44 ERA in 12 starts). But he has significant upside, and a team like the Cubs that is trying to get controllable talent any way it can might be able to coax it out of him."
We know Jed Hoyer wants to add some swing-and-miss stuff to the mix. Trading a fan favorite is never popular (he knows this all too well at this point), but if you can add someone like Jesus Luzardo in such a move, he’ll think long and hard before passing on such an offer.