The Cubs are clearly in retooling mode. Who will be the next North Side star dealt?
As much as the Cubs may want to offload Kris Bryant, the odds of them getting max value for a player of his caliber seem slim. Bryant is entering the final season of his deal, and he’s coming off a dismal 2020 in which he hit just .206 in 34 games. While that’s a small sample size — and he’s more likely to bounce back than not — rival executives won’t take that chance when their prospect base it at stake.
With that in mind, the Cubs best potential trade asset is Willson Contreras. While the team did state that they weren’t, in fact, aggressively trading their star backstop as some reports suggested, they’re surely listening to phone calls.
Contreras can net the best return for a Cubs farm system devoid of much talent
If the Cubs are to retool (or rebuild, whichever you prefer), they need to upgrade their prospect base, and get younger. The Ricketts’ family likes the sound of that, as it means the roster will have more payroll flexibility moving forward.
Contreras could likely net at least a top-5 prospect in return, even in a trade market that prizes top prospects above all else. Contreras plays a premium position, is a solid defender and can hit in the middle of most lineups when called upon. That type of talent isn’t often found on the free agent market, outside of JT Realmuto.
The 28-year-old has at least one more season of arbitration remaining, and could easily make another All-Star team in the timespan. As much as Cubs fans would prefer he be wearing their colors when that happens, Hoyer’s actions suggest otherwise.
Contreras might not be long for the North Side.