There’s already been so much talk about Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras that the last thing anyone needs is a recap of all the rumors. Suffice to say both are at the forefront of Winter Meetings conversations because of their extreme value. But don’t let the talk of their need to shed salary fool you, the Cubs aren’t going to unload either player just for the hell of it.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, via paraphrased Bleacher Nation tweets, Bryant isn’t moving for less than a “huge offer” and the ask for Contreras is “absurd.” That’s how it should be, since the net return for either needs to be one that makes the Cubs more competitive by 2021 at the very latest. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may not be around for a rebuild, so they can’t very well torpedo their chances in the near term.
More @JeffPassan on ESPN1000, he's heard the Padres connected to the Cubs on Willson Contreras, but the ask is absurd.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 10, 2019
That’s why, even though we all know the Cubs aren’t just going to swing deals for the sole purpose of clearing salary, it’s good to hear reports like these. Speaking of which, it’s interesting that the Padres are connected to Contreras here. Their potential interest in him had previously been discussed last month here at CI and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported that they won’t be shopping at the top of the free agent market. That means turning to the trade market.
With a wealth of prospects and young players, the Padres appear to be a good fit with what the Cubs would need in return. A deal for Contreras doesn’t necessarily signal a win-now mentality for the acquiring team, which means they might be willing to part with the types of MLB-ready pieces the Cubs would require. But wait, isn’t that basically a zero-sum game? Maybe, but the best trades are those in which each team shores up respective weaknesses.
Even with that in mind, let’s just stick with the notion that the Cubs’ asks on both players are so astronomically high that it means they’re not really looking to make deals. Yeah, that sounds good.