Whatever you think of the Cubs’ reported efforts to move guys like Willson Contreras or Kris Bryant in trade, I think we can all agree that if it is really under serious consideration (and, clearly at this point, it is), then the least the Cubs could do would be to hold back on a trade unless it so very clearly helps them in the medium and longer-term that they can’t say no. Right? For old time’s sake?
OK, not actually just for old time’s sake. It’s much more pragmatic than that. The Cubs have two of the most compelling pieces available on the market (at catcher and at star-level bat), and they don’t absolutely have to move them. Thus, and particularly before other parts of the market have shaken out, there is no reason to actually trigger a deal unless it’s overwhelming at this point.
So, then, I was not surprised – but I was happy – to hear Jeff Passan on ESPN 1000 today:
Everyone in the game knows where things stand with these two players, and why the Cubs would consider dealing them right now, in service of some longer-term good. But just because everyone knows that reality does not mean the Cubs are in some kind of bind to make a trade (rumors about spending notwithstanding).
There are more suitors for guys like Bryant and Contreras than there are other, similar players out there and available. With that upper hand in mind, the Cubs *should* be able to get a haul for at least one of these two guys, if that’s the route they want to take. And there is no sense in moving off that level of demand any time soon.
To be sure, failing to transform the roster in a meaningful way this offseason would absolutely be a failure. But shuttling off one of the most valuable players on your roster for a lesser return would be a much greater one.