It’s easy to miss because it’s a single throwaway line in the final paragraph of a piece about the Mets’ interest in free agent catcher James McCann, but Joel Sherman left a little buried treasure in there. Well, maybe “treasure” isn’t the right word.
It’s understandable that he yadda-yadda’d the Contreras part because Sherman writes for the New York Post and isn’t necessarily catering to Cubs fans. But I think the fact that gave what might otherwise seem like a big deal such little attention is that it’s simply a given that the Cubs are open for business.
To that end, Jed Hoyer is undoubtedly willing to move any player in the interest of payroll reduction and/or restocking the farm. And like it or not, Contreras is the Cubs’ most valuable piece in that regard. He’s still in his athletic prime with two years of club control left and should only earn around $7.5 million in arbitration for 2021. Add his much improved defense to an elite offensive profile for his position and you have someone who can fetch legit prospects in return.
There’s also the idea that the Cubs have depth at catcher, even if no one can come close to matching Contreras’s individual production. Victor Caratini has only put up one above-average offensive campaign, but getting close to that again would make him a perfectly cromulent starter. And while Miguel Amaya isn’t ready for an everyday role just yet, it’s easy enough to pick up a veteran backup.
I apologize if it sounds like I’m campaigning for a trade here, I’m really not. Rather, I’m laying out the rationale behind Sherman’s report, which itself might be phrased in such a way as to create a little additional intrigue. A lot of you probably don’t want to believe it’s true, but I don’t doubt for a second that Hoyer is indeed very open to listening if the price is right.