Last weekend, I posted this SB Nation Reacts survey asking the question: Should Willson Contreras be traded or extended?
Here are the results!
I don’t think this is a big surprise. Willson Contreras has been a key part of the Cubs for seven seasons now, going back to the World Series team in 2016. He’s productive at the plate and as a defensive catcher and right now, is arguably the Cubs’ best player. He’s also popular with the fanbase, probably a big reason that nearly two-thirds of those of you who filled out the survey said, “Extend him.”
I voted to extend. The Cubs could conceivably return to contention as soon as 2023 if they spend some money over the winter, and presumably they have some after we learned last week that Jed Hoyer didn’t spend all the payroll money he was budgeted for in 2022. If the Cubs don’t extend Willson, they’ll wind up with a 35-year-old Yan Gomes as their starting catcher — he’s under contract through 2023 — with possibly P.J. Higgins as his backup.
That’s a rebuilding team’s catching duo, not a contending team. We still haven’t had a specific admission from Hoyer that the team is in a rebuild, instead, lots of dodging and talking in circles.
It seems likely that Contreras will be traded, given the current standing of the Chicago Cubs. I’m still hopeful that somehow, an extension will be worked out before this year’s trade deadline. And for those of you who say, “But they could trade him and re-sign him!” that almost never happens. The only two players I can think of who did that are Aroldis Chapman (traded to the Cubs by the Yankees in 2016, then re-signed with NY) and Jason Hammel (traded by the Cubs to the A’s in 2014, then re-signed with the Cubs in 2015). It just doesn’t happen.
So, have at it again. As always, we await developments.
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