Chicago Cubs: Trade rumors continue with Willson Contreras, Kris Bryant
|Saturday, January 9, 2021, 8:52 AM- -|
As the ground settles following the Cubs’ blockbuster trade of Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres, there have been numerous rumblings from various reporters around the league as to who may be dealt next.
The trade of Darvish and the return the Cubs got back — which included a soft-tossing pitcher with one year of control left and four prospects who could not legally drink a beer and are likely three years away from the pros (at a minimum).
The trade told three key things to Cubs fans and the league:
* The Cubs are desperately trying to cut payroll
* No player on the Cubs is off limits
* The Cubs have eyes on the future
For other teams around the league, this may make trading with the Cubs an enticing partner. Not only will the Cubs be willing to shed payroll — and the likely talented players that go with it — but they will likely be taking less of a haul in return just to guarantee they get the money off the books, like in the Darvish deal.
While these types of deals likely eliminate small market teams and rebuilding teams who are undergoing budget constraints or also have to cut due to the pandemic and the strain it has placed on the economics in baseball — big market teams and big spenders like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres are the types of teams that would potentially be interested in the players on the Cubs’ roster.
Following the Darvish trade, reports from around the league swirl that the Cubs may be extensively shopping Willson Contreras. Jed Hoyer initially shot down those rumors, but the reports have begun to gain traction over the last week.
One team rumored to be interested in Contreras is the Los Angeles Angels. Of course, this would pair Contreras back with former Cub manager Joe Maddon. The Angels have a desperate need at catcher and a solid farm system, so the pair make a match in that regard.
Contreras has emerged as a top catcher in the game — and has shown an ability to improve on his weakness, pitch framing. Contreras has excellent power and brings a rocket of an arm and energy to the field that can not be duplicated.
With the Cubs already trading Victor Caratini, trading Contreras would leave a massive hole at the major league level to fill — so a trade for Contreras must really blow Hoyer away for him to make the deal.
Another player rumored to be dealt is Kris Bryant. While Bryant has been rumored in trades for what feels like years now — the original thought was that Bryant would not be with the Cubs on opening day.
However, it seems increasingly likely that since Bryant’s value is so low — he is coming off a carer low season — and that the Cubs are going to be looking to find someone to pay his salary, finding someone to meet the Cubs’ asking price will be difficult. So a trade might be unlikely.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers have emerged as a candidate to acquire Bryant. If the Dodgers are unable to re-sign Justin Turner or complete a trade for the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers may pivot to Bryant to fill their need for third base.
Besides the Dodgers, upon acquiring Francisco Lindor, the Mets have been rumored to explore a potential trade for Bryant. They have an opening at third base and hunger to spend, so keep an eye on the Mets.
We will continue to monitor these hot stove scenarios as the offseason progresses.