Cubs: 3 Opening Day storylines to keep an eye on this week

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Willson Contreras / Chicago Cubs
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3 Cubs Opening Day storylines to watch: #2 – Last ride for Willson Contreras?

Based on everything we’ve heard from reports and Contreras himself, Thursday may very well be the final Opening Day he spends as a member of the Cubs.

One of just three members of the 2016 team left standing, along with Kyle Hendricks and Jason Heyward, there have reportedly been no substantive extension talks between Chicago and their two-time All-Star catcher, making a trade between now and the end of July a near-certainty.

After losing Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo last summer at the deadline, a Contreras trade seems likely to turn the fanbase even more against ownership. Widely regarded as one of the top catchers in the game, he’s made great strides behind the dish and is coming off a team-best 4.1 bWAR in 2021.

At least, for now, Contreras will be in the lineup looking to put up big numbers heading into a walk year. That’s a best-case scenario for everyone involved, because getting a fair return for a catcher on an in-season trade is a tall task – yet the one the front office seems to have given itself. Expect a rousing ovation during introductions on Thursday for Contreras.