Cubs Rumors: Willson Contreras trade ‘heavily discussed’ pre-lockout
The likelihood that Willson Contreras signs a long-term extension with the Chicago Cubs seems remote, at best. He wasn’t thrilled with the Yan Gomes signing last fall – and the common-held belief is it would push Jed Hoyer out of his comfort zone to give the two-time All-Star what he’d want to stick around past 2022.
All that said, that makes a Contreras trade seem likely and, for the first time, we have a report that indicates the front office was engaged in widespread talks on its catcher, courtesy of The Athletic (subscription required).
Contreras and his former battery mate Craig Kimbrel were among the names around the league that were ‘heavily discussed’ in trade talks prior to the lockout – and the report goes on to suggest things will pick up where they left off once the lockout ends, meaning we could see something that’s been a rarity in the game for some time: trades during spring training.
If the league hopes to have any shot at not condensing the regular season schedule in 2022, talks will have to pick up steam quickly in the coming weeks – and, even then, spring training is going to be shorter. On a parallel track, front offices will be looking at free agents, trades and other options to round out their unfinished rosters.
Thinking through this, it makes sense the Cubs would look to trade Contreras prior to the season. It’s not that they couldn’t pull the trigger on a move in-season, but that would allow him to get on the same page with his new pitching staff before the regular season got underway.
Chicago Cubs: Are we ready to hand the reins over to Yan Gomes?
With the Gomes signing, at least Chicago has somebody to pivot to in the short-term. He’s not a long-term solution given his age, but he can at least hold the fort down this season. I still think there’s a chance that, if they trade Contreras, the Cubs could pull off a trade for someone like Jorge Alfaro – but that remains to be seen.
Losing Contreras would just be the latest loss for Cubs fans, leaving only Jason Heyward and Kyle Hendricks as the holdovers from 2016. It’s hard to find a backstop like Contreras – and getting uncomfortable and extending themselves a bit more than they’d like might be the best solution for Chicago, but we’ve heard absolutely nothing on the extension talks front this winter.
As has been the case with any other rumor we’ve heard this winter, we just have to sit on it. With the transaction freeze in place, we won’t have any sort of closure on Contreras anytime soon. At this point, just pull the band-aid off once the lockout ends. I think I’m ready…