The Cubs Are Not Currently "Engaged in Any Active Discussions" About a Willson Contreras Trade

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The Cubs Are Not Currently “Engaged in Any Active Discussions” About a Willson Contreras Trade

Chicago Cubs

Just to be clear on something this week: the Chicago Cubs are not currently talking about a Willson Contreras trade, according to Patrick Mooney’s latest.

“At the moment, the Cubs are not engaged in any active discussions about a Contreras trade, according to two sources familiar with the team’s planning.”

Now, then. As Mooney concedes, that can change with a phone call or a text – and there’s certainly some play with how much a Cubs source might want out there or not – but that underscores the reality of the moment: a trade before Opening Day, involving a starting catcher like Willson Contreras, is exceedingly unlikely. Whatever plans the Cubs had to extend or trade Contreras this offseason got blown up by the length of the lockout (and by the teams’ apparent unwillingness, so far, to re-engage in extension negotiations).

The fact that the sides couldn’t reach an arbitration settlement before exchanging figures and planning for an arbitration hearing is also a dent in any trade plans. Teams generally do not like to acquire players with a hearing pending, because it impacts their ability to plan. Sure, the Cubs could make a trade cash-conditional on the outcome of the hearing (i.e., “if Contreras wins, we owe you another $1 million”), but I’m just speaking generally.

So count this another data point in the march toward the new two possible paths: a trade in July if the Cubs are swooning and there’s a team willing to pay a premium in trade for a starting catcher mid-season (rare); or Contreras simply walks in free agency, and the Cubs recoup bare minimum draft pick compensation.*

Unless, of course, a last-minute extension comes together sooner. Though Contreras certainly seems prepared for that not to be happening.

*(The specifics of how much compensation will depend on the upcoming international draft decision, which MLB has paired to the Qualifying Offer system – but, for now, you can keep in mind that there will be SOME compensation for Contreras leaving in either case, but it’s going to be only a post-second or third round pick.)

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.