Ken Rosenthal stoked Cubs Twitter to life this morning with a note of Angels interest in Willson Contreras. I could both feel and read the chills running up and down the spine of the collective paranoia of Cubs fans. (Unless you have a better collective term for a group of Cubs fans, now.) Al posted some details about the rumor earlier this afternoon and I did some quick research to possibly put a frame around a possible return, with recent events as valid data points.
The Angels’ top pick in 2020 was lefty Reid Detmers. That isn't terribly far from a reasonable swap, right there. The lefty hurler from Louisville is fairly advanced. In an environment where players were aggressively pushed to the level of appropriate challenge, 2022 would seem realistic for Detmers. “Mid-rotation or better” is a fair assessment, and why the Angels might consider him too steep. Pushing for Detmers-plus could fall to Contreras for Detmers a decade ago. As for now? Maybe not.
The Darvish trade saw the Cubs getting a second-rounder, since the Padres’ Robert Hassell (prep outfielder from Tennessee) was deemed too rich. The Angels had no second-rounder in 2020, due to signing Anthony Rendon as a free agent an off-season ago. Their third-rounder last June was David Calabrese, a prep outfielder from Ontario. Owen Caissie, similarly an outfielder from Ontario, came over in the Darvish trade.
Internationally, three teens jumped off the board at me. 19-year-old Kyren Paris drew a 45 from Fangraphs last cycle, and 18-year-olds Arol Vera (shortstop) and Alexander Ramirez (right field) had high marks from MLB.
My aim would be to come close, not to satisfy Sara and other Contreras fans. Contreras for Detmers, give or take, would be my first push. Failing that, Paris, Calabrese, Vera or Ramirez, and something, would be my guess.
It would look horrible right now. If the Cubs development people do their jobs, it might look better later. The best hope, if a trade happens, would be a buyer motivated to prioritize 2021 and 2022 over 2023 and beyond. If that's the case, the Angels might make sense.