Cubs: Willson Contreras mentioned as top-performing trade candidate

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

I penned a piece earlier this week highlighting some potential Cubs trade chips – and not much this week persuaded me the team is suddenly going to get hot as a firecracker and make a run, so it’s worth nothing MLB Trade Rumors including Willson Contreras among their ’10 Potential Trade Deadline Rental Bats Off To Strong Starts’ recently.

Here’s what they had to say about Contreras, who collected another two hits and three runs to his resume in Wednesday’s win over San Diego.

"Contreras figures to be highly sought after at the trade deadline, especially with the average catcher putting up an 81 wRC+.  Unless the Cubs change their mind about extending their soon-to-be-30-year-old longtime backstop, he’s quite likely to be dealt.  The Guardians or Mets could make sense."

There’s been no indications the front office is suddenly changing its stance on extending Contreras. There were no talks reported (and the two-time All-Star himself actually talked about what free agency will be like for him this spring) – so the writing’s on the wall and the clock is ticking on his Cubs tenure. Sooner or later, the curtain will fall, whether we like it or not.

Contreras leads all qualified catchers with a .935 OPS this season. The gap between the Chicago backstop and the next-best qualified catcher? A whopping 220 points (that .715 mark belongs to the Athletics’ Sean Murphy). In other words, he’s head and shoulders above the competition this year.

Cubs Rumors: Will Willson Contreras wind up calling New York home?

As for potential suitors, I’d add the Yankees to the mix personally. They’re off to a scorching start, despite pretty much nothing in the form of offensive contributions from the catching position. A Contreras trade could be a big-time difference-maker in a loaded American League East.

The same can be said for the Mets, whose ill-fated signing of James McCann continues to drag the club down. The former White Sox catcher has a .551 OPS this season and has hit just .227/.290/.341 since coming to the Big Apple. Given the fact owner Steve Cohen operates with a ‘World Series-or-bust’ mentality, there’s definitely a fit there.

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Maybe Atlanta gets into the mix after losing Manny Pina for the year. It would be cool to see Contreras get to play with his younger brother with the Braves – that’s for sure. The trade market and his list of suitors will gain more clarity in the weeks and months to come, but the speculation is already out there when it comes to the two-time All-Star.