Cubs: 3 players who get traded if they succeed, but the team struggles

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Willson Contreras / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

On paper, at least, the Chicago Cubs feel quite a ways away from being a contender, even in their own division. Just about everything would have to go right for David Ross’ club – from Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel showing what they did last summer wasn’t a fluke to young arms showing more consistency, both in the rotation and the bullpen.

In other words, despite the additions of Yan Gomes, Marcus Stroman, Clint Frazier and Wade Miley, Chicago could be a very middle-of-the-pack club in 2022, which means we could be looking at a team destined to be sellers at the trade deadline (whenever that may be in what could very well end up being a shortened season).

The team can struggle and underperform while certain guys carry their own – and in the right circumstances, it can be the right move to trade those guys and sell high. Here are three guys Jed Hoyer could unload if the team struggles, but these individuals are playing well.

Cubs: 3 players who could get traded if team struggles: #3 – Willson Contreras

I still think Gomes is the Opening Day catcher for the Cubs. I think once the MLB lockout ends, Hoyer will re-visit early offseason trade talks involving the two-time All-Star and looks to capitalize on a full year of control over him rather than a couple months.

But, suppose I’m wrong and Hoyer can’t find a deal to his liking this spring. Contreras will still be an oft-discussed trade chip as the season progresses and, barring an unexpected extension, will end up dealt at the deadline. There’s just no chance the front office runs out the clock on his final season of control without getting anything concrete in return.

Last season, Contreras turned in a 4.1 bWAR campaign, posting a .778 OPS and hitting the ball hard very regularly. He also ranked in the top third of the league in framing – something that is worth noting given his previous struggles with the mitt. He’s got tremendous value on both sides of the ball and if the Cubs are nowhere near the postseason picture (and, perhaps, even if they are), there’s a good chance his days on the North Side are numbered.