The Other Kind of Hugs and Other Cubs Bullets
How to start the bullets after a day like THAT?
How about something simple …. This Michael writing to you this morning, as Brett recovers from his 40+ hour trade deadline blogathon, which wound up raising over $15K for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But don’t worry, he’ll be back on the keyboard later today breaking down everything that went on yesterday.
On behalf of Brett, Make-A-Wish, and all the guys at Bleacher Nation, here’s a big fat THANK YOU for all of your support.
Now let’s talk about that ridiculous trade deadline.
- For me, yesterday was equal parts weird and frustrating. The Cubs made some legitimately solid trades leading up to the deadline, and not trading Ian Happ was always plausible. I knew that, I accepted that. But failing (refusing? … deciding not to?) trade Willson Contreras? That just threw me way off center. There were rumors, there were hugs, there were tears, and quotes, and columns … there was the entire 2021 Trade Deadline. We were conditioned to expect the trade. And then there he is … flying out in the top of the first inning in St. Louis (he went 1-2 with a triple and 2 HBPs, by the way).
- I’m not disappointed that he’s sticking around, mind you. I really do enjoy watching Contreras play for the Cubs, and this probably does crack open the tiniest sliver of hope for a deal that keeps him around for at least another season. More importantly, if the right offer wasn’t there — as in, something greater than the compensation pick they’d get if he declines the qualifying offer this winter — well then, that’s pretty much that, right?
- Yes, sorta. But here’s the thing: The evaluation of this non-trade is subjective. It just depends how far out you’re willing to zoom. We just discussed the narrowest band in the previous bullet: If the right deal wasn’t there, you don’t trade him. At best, he nets you a compensation pick. At worst, Jed Hoyer demonstrated an ability to stand firm when he negotiates. That’s non-zero value. But zoom out a bit, and it’s fair to question whether the Cubs handled this the right way. And I don’t mean over just the past month.
- All offseason, we wrote that the Cubs should either trade Contreras or extend him, because dealing catchers mid-season is extremely difficult and rare. But they didn’t. We made the same argument in Spring Training. Still nothing. So, sure, I can believe the lack of acceptable value at the deadline. But maybe the Cubs shouldn’t have put themselves in that position in the first place.
- In the end, everyone caught the short-end of the stick. (1) We, the fans, were forced to go through a period of mourning and acceptance for nothing. (2) Willson Contreras is now going to face a tougher free agent market, as he’ll (probably) cost his next team a compensation pick, plus the associated draft bonus pool and IFA money.* And (3) the Cubs are going to have to say goodbye to Contreras again for, at best, an extra pick that they probably should’ve been able to beat — if not at the deadline, then in the offseason (or some other time in the past).
*I’m assuming the Cubs are not going to extend him before the end of the season and that they’re going to extend the qualifying offer, though neither are necessarily guaranteed. That’s an entirely difference conversation.
- At least Contreras, himself, looks relieved.
- Literally all smiles:
- Anyway, I really suggest reading this discussion about it at The Athletic from Patrick Mooney (and co.). It has details on who was still in on Contreras near the end and a general discussion of what happened. Brett also discussed the non-trades of Contreras and Ian Happ right here.
- Speaking of housekeeping, don’t miss Brett’s write-up of Jed Hoyer’s post-deadline presser:
- Or the roster moves that went down after the deadline:
- I did love to see how absolutely fired up Ian Happ was that he was staying.
- I also absolutely love that he came out and robbed a home run … even if it was in a loss:
- In the end, the Cubs traded Chris Martin to the Dodgers (for Zack McKinstry), Scott Effross to the Yankees (for Hayden Wisneski), David Robertson to the Phillies (for Ben Brown), and Mychal Givens to the Mets (for Saúl González) for a big league utility man, two solid starting pitching prospects in the upper minors, and a big, strikeout-heavy relief prospect. Not a bad set of returns, especially for what it could mean for their intentions of competitiveness in the near term (which, yes, it’s ridiculous that we have to worry about that in the first place, but here we are).
- So many more thoughts on the deadline coming. Stay tuned.
- On a more somber note, in case you missed it, the legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully passed away last night.
- Ending on a couple of bright notes:
- This just cracks me up:
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