Cubs could look to Yankees in a potential Willson Contreras trade

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

With an apparent lack of movement on the extension front, Willson Contreras is poised to head into the 2022 as a lame duck. Given what we saw go down last summer with the massive sell-off that saw Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez sent packing, there has been rampant speculation the Cubs will wind up trading their two-time All-Star catcher before season’s end.

Had the lockout not lasted nearly 100 days, we might be in a very different scenario: one where Contreras might already be in a different uniform. But without three-plus months to either A): extend him or B): gauge interest from around the league, here we are.

It’s hard to envision a situation where Jed Hoyer just lets Contreras walk at season’s end. If they don’t reach a deal prior to Opening Day, he’s going to get traded before the calendar turns to August. While reaching a deal quickly seemed unlikely coming out of the lockout, the Yankees’ current catching dilemma represents an opportunity to pull something off.

Cubs: Injuries for the Yankees could create a Willson Contreras trade scenario

New York traded longtime backstop and two-time All-Star Gary Sanchez to the Twins last week in a move that netted Josh Donaldson and catcher Ben Rortvedt. Rortvedt figured to factor into the team’s catching plans along with Kyle Higashioka, but a lingering oblique strain has his status heading into the season in doubt.

Even if he was healthy, though, it’s clear the Yankees could stand to upgrade behind the plate. Adding Contreras would give the team a major boost – and guard against the alternative: having to turn to non-roster invitees Rob Brantly and David Freitas early in the year.

Last season, Higashioka put up a 71 OPS+ and 0.4 bWAR in just 67 contests. Losing Sanchez, despite his shortcomings, has definitely left a hole on the depth chart. Handing things over to Contreras could help the Yankees keep pace in a supercharged AL East.

Looking down the organizational ranks, Austin Wells represents the up-and-comer behind the plate, but there are those throughout the league, according to, who have serious concerns about his ability to stick back there. That means there’s no clear plan of succession in place – again, opening the door for Brian Cashman to target a proven presence like Contreras.

Next. Ranking the worst Cubs trades of the last 50 years. dark

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In the end, I want Chicago to extend Contreras. Similar to the Yankees, they lack any real alternative long-term. Yan Gomes is too old to be considered anything more than a short-term solution and Miguel Amaya hasn’t played a full season in three-plus years. But if all else fails, and a deal can’t be reached, New York could be a prime landing spot for the fan favorite.