‘No meaningful discussion’ on extension between Cubs, Willson Contreras

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

I was taking the trash out to the garage this morning when my Apple Watch vibrated and Bleacher Report hit me with a ‘Willson Contreras, Cubs agree to deal’ notification. My heart rate spiked briefly, then I scrolled and saw that the two sides avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $9.625 million salary for 2022 that fell directly in the middle of their respective filing numbers.

That’s good news, to be sure. Arbitration hearings can get messy and if you have any hopes of working out a last-minute extension before Contreras hits free agency, you need things to be as drama-free as possible. But, according to at least one report, Thursday’s agreement didn’t lead to anything substantive on that front.

Contreras is undoubtedly headed to the third All-Star nod of his career and is in line for a major payday this winter. He’s putting up some of the best offensive numbers of his career and has cemented his place in the locker room on a young team in the midst of a rebuild. Despite all this, a trade of the Chicago catcher seems like the most probable outcome.

Now, interested teams will at least know the salary that comes with acquiring Contreras for the stretch run this year, offering further clarification in any potential talks. After seemingly nailing last summer’s trades of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, the bar is set incredibly high for Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins again leading up to this year’s trade deadline – especially when it comes to dealing yet another fan favorite in Contreras.

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So, while it might seem like good news that the two sides avoiding going to an arbitration hearing, especially given the Cubs have historically been a file-and-trial front office, I’d take it with a grain of salt and prepare yourself for the very real possibility Contreras is traded in the next month-and-a-half.