Cubs could net insane haul in Willson Contreras, David Robertson trades

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

One week into June and with less than two months until the trade deadline, the industry is already speculating who might be on the move in the coming weeks – and, to the surprise of no one, the Chicago Cubs figure to be in the middle of the chaos again this summer.

This roster is loaded with potential trade chips – but for our purposes here, we’re going to hone in on two-time (likely soon to be three-time) All-Star catcher Willson Contreras and veteran right-hander David Robertson, both of whom could fetch impressive hauls for an organization in the midst of a rebuild.

Contreras is in a league of his own this year, putting up offensive numbers literally no other catcher in the game is anywhere close to. Jeff Passan noted the value he has as a trade chip in a newly-released ‘148 names you need to know before the MLB trade deadline’ – singling out the Giants, both New York clubs and Houston as potential matches in a Contreras trade.

Of course, you can flip that same coin over and easily conclude he brings the same amount of value to the Cubs as an extension candidate. At this point, though, we have zero reason to believe anything will come to fruition on that front. As Bob Nightengale noted on Tuesday, it’s a foregone conclusion the team will deal Contreras before the deadline.

"“Yeah, I don’t see it happening,” Nightengale said when asked about a potential deal to keep the Cubs backstop on the North Side. “I think they’re just so far away. He wants to be paid as one of the top catchers in the game. We saw what (J.T.) Realmuto got, over $100 million, he’d like to have something close to that himself. He saw what Salvador Perez got. So I think he’s gone, for sure."

Cubs could add to an already dramatically improved farm system at deadline

We saw what Jed Hoyer is capable of doing in trades for rental players last summer, when he traded Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez in a span of 24 hours. Given the offensive downturn across the league (and with catchers, in particular), it stands to reason he’ll be poised to get a haul back for Contreras.

As for Robertson, we’re talking about a 37-year-old who’s having a bit of a renaissance comeback tour. In other words, someone who has zero value playing out the year for a non-contender. He spent most of his career in the Bronx, so he understands what pressure feels like – and you can bet he’s pitching big innings for a team in October.

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It’s always more fun when your team is out there adding to make a run but the simple truth is that’s not in the cards for Chicago this summer. Capitalizing on another set of midseason trades is the smart move (although, again, not giving Contreras an extension is a tough look for a franchise that’s failed to extend any meaningful core position player). It’s on the front office to work its magic and, hopefully, get back to spending this winter with a farm system ready to feed the big league club for years to come.