After months of speculation, the Cubs will pass the trade deadline without moving two of their biggest trade chips. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that both catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ will both be staying put in Wrigleyville.
It hasn’t exactly been a quiet deadline for the Cubs, as Mychal Givens, David Robertson, Chris Martin, and Scott Effross have all been shipped out of town in the last few days. But beyond this bullpen exodus, it seems that Chicago will be hanging onto its two most heavily-sought after position players, despite many rumors about other teams’ interest.
Clubs such as the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Padres had been linked to Happ, who is hitting .279/.360/.436 over 408 plate appearances and was just named to his first All-Star team. While Happ’s production has been somewhat inconsistent over his six MLB seasons, he has been a solidly above-average hitter overall, and also emerged as capable defensive player in center field.
Since Happ is arbitration-controlled through the 2023 season, there may not have been quite the urgency on Chicago’s part to move the 27-year-old unless another team stepped forward with a knockout offer. The Cubs continue to give mixed signals about their near-term and longer-term plans to contend, yet since their most recent moves have trended towards more retooling, it is probably safe to guess that Happ will continue to feature in trade rumors throughout the offseason and up until next year’s deadline if Chicago isn’t in contention.
The lack of movement on Contreras, however, is harder to figure. The longtime Cubs catcher is a free agent after the season, and since the team aggressively moved several pending free agents (i.e. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez) at last year’s deadline, it seemed like a sure bet that Contreras would follow suit this season. If anything, it may have been a little surprising that Contreras wasn’t moved last year as well, except the idea that the Cubs wanted to keep the catcher and sign him to a contract extension also didn’t come to fruition.
The Mets, Rays, Padres, and Astros were all linked to Contreras in recent rumors, though Houston instead obtained Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox as a catching upgrade. Tampa Bay acquired Christian Bethancourt earlier in July, and now he’ll stand as the Rays’ only catcher trade of deadline season.
As for other suitors, it could be that the Mets, Padres, and the ever-popular “mystery teams” simply didn’t step forward with an offer that met the Cubs’ liking. San Diego will continue with the respectable Austin Nola/Jorge Alfaro tandem at catcher, and the smaller-scale depth addition of Cam Gallagher from the Royals. (Plus, it could simply be most of the Padres’ trade attention was focused on larger matters like the Juan Soto blockbuster). New York ended making only relatively minor upgrades instead of any big swings at the deadline, and the team will now have to continue to hope that James McCann can get back on track.
Another factor to consider is the recent lack of an agreement between the league and the players’ union about the implementation of an international player draft. Since that deal wasn’t reached, the old qualifying offer system will remain in place throughout the life of the current collective bargaining agreement, and thus the Cubs would get a compensatory draft pick back for Contreras if he rejected a QO and signed elsewhere. That means that essentially, other teams had to offer something that the Cubs preferred to that extra pick.
Even with all of this in mind, it is still surprising that president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer couldn’t find any kind of acceptable trade match for Contreras, either in the days leading up to the deadline or even back during the offseason. Considering the lack of extension talks, it would seem unlikely that the two sides will match up on a new deal before Contreras hits the open market, or after he becomes a free agent and has 29 other teams to bid on his services. Contreras has been open about the stress and uncertainty he has faced with all of this nonstop trade buzz, but while that noise will quiet, some awkwardness may remain over what could be his last two months in a Cubs uniform.
World Series or bust. I hope they get standing ovations the next homestand.
A MUST READ!
Ƭ̵̬̊ Player Formly Known As MousecopƬ̵̬̊
They will. They got one before their current road trip
Maybe no one was interested?
I’m sure there was interest. Crap offers probably not as good as a QO draft pick.
Wouldn’t have had to offer much to beat the comp pick the Cubs stand to receive for Contreras.
Seeing what other teams paid for these positions I can’t imagine there wasn’t strong offers. Fail by Cubs. Especially on Contreras. Happ they get another shot.
Dumpster Divin Theo
No serious contender was willing to upset the apple cart this late in the year by having a suspect catcher like Contreras learn a pitching staff on the fly. Maybe a rental bat but that’s about it. Should have attempted to trade him in the offseason.
It’s not a fail by the cubs, the fail is by the “fans” who had completely unrealistic expectations about contreras worth.
I heard all along “Contreras is going to get a haul!!!!” And he never was. Teams value battery mates at catcher, not offense. Teams were viewing contreras as a DH who can catch if need be. Not a great hitting catcher.
With the qualifying offer still in play, the cubs can add three first round talents in the draft plus add a little bit to their international spending pool. Or they can use the QO as leverage.
In Happs case, the cubs would have been stupid to take less than a top 50 prospect plus more. Given happs history of inconsistency, no team was going to hedge that bet. If happ finishes strong and consistent (I think the best happ has yet to show himself this season) he will get that top prospect haul in the off-season if the cubs choose that route.
So many fans fail to see the big picture or look at the perspective from the other team. Contreras market only fit a handful of teams (mostly the Mets). Happs market was more robust but they would be selling low, not high on him.
Where the cubs did fail however is that we retained Smyly and Miley. Both of those players should have been sent for salary relief if nothing else. The cubs should have also attempted to buy a prospect foe Myers.
Three first round talents? I don’t get that part. The compensation for a QO free agent is a pick around 75-80 overall after Competitive Balance Round B.
Tick Tock Clock
Not ok. Very cringe. Hoyer is going to let them go for a draft compensation pick. Then use that pick to sign an underslot pitcher who should have gone in the 6th or 7th round, and that pitcher will struggle in the minors, top out as a reliever at AA, and never make the majors
Happ can be traded in the off-season for probably more if the first four months of this season aren’t a fluke.
Possible they have the framework of a friendly extension laid out that if ends up not happening they still get the draft pick.
Why would a team increase their offer when they don’t get to use him in the 2022 postseason anymore?
FO looks terrible here. Good luck with the QO
Maybe…but what about this: don’t you at some point have to stick to your guns? If you throw up your hands every time a team thinks you HAVE to deal someone, do you ever get fair value?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m shocked the Cubs didn’t move Contreras, but maybe it was simply a matter of everyone lowballing them and they got tired of it.
“We didn’t get any assets, and both guys will be gone soon for absolutely nothing, but the important thing is we ‘stuck to our guns.'” Maybe they can trade that for a plastic pencil at Chuck E Cheese.
Happcisnt gonna be gone. They’ll get a comp pick out of Contreras. Who knows the offers they received may not have exceeded what the cubs think a comp pick is worth. Dumb to trade someone just to trade them.
@alkie- Happ isn’t a pending FA and if a pick In the 40th overall range is more appealing than two mid tier prospects, sticking to their guns is a better choice.
Or maybe they pivot and try to extend Contreras now.
Great point. Why make a big offer when you know they feel they have to move them?
@Sideline Redwine Because you have to be the highest bidder
@Avory Yes they will get fair value. The reason for this is because you still have to be the highest bidder to get the guy and if you lowball the Cubs and they trade him to someone else you have to answer to your fans why you didn’t top the other team’s offer.
@Avory after the return for Robertson, I’m inclined to agree. OK, maybe Brown is “underrated” and DR is just a rental reliever, but he’s a legit closer and probably the best relief pitcher actually on the market…so the Phillies 26th prospect was surprisingly underwhelming. I was happy with the return on Martin, but really went to hell after that…
Check mid season rankings on Brown, not preseason. He’s a big lefty with a big fastball and 105 Ks in 75 innings. He’s a legit prospect.
Robertson was always going to be traded. He would have been upset if they hadn’t shipped him off. He had a significant salary escalator that was dependent on his being traded.
They got what they could
SanDiego getting Soto really screwed up the market for Willson & Ian.
Why, because they didn’t give core pieces of the team away for what could’ve been insulting offers? Clearly nothing good enough to pull the trigger. They have another year of Happ and can always extend Contreras. I wish they would’ve gotten a nice prospect or two for Willson, but with his recent slump, apparently the offers weren’t there.
They’re not core pieces of the team. They are free agents at the end of this season and next and the Cubs are rebuilding.
And the Cubs could always have brought Contreras back in the offseason after trading him so saying “They can always extend Contreras,” that doesn’t really track.
Happ isn’t a FA.
random comment guy
And if he doesn’t sign the QO, they get a draft pick. As someone stated, the Cubs very well could have gotten low ball offers. I don’t know the difference between a low tier prospect vs a draft pick (possible comp B). Can’t be that much different. I get not trading Happ since you get him for one more year.
I’d hope they better have an extension in the works!
Cubs may be the smartest team in baseball.
MC Tim C
They’d better be extending Contreras since they didn’t trade him. I have no faith in Hoyer though.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Why would they extend him now after not entering into serious negotiations up to now? And why would he accept without going to market first?
It’ll take 28 plane crashes for that to be the case.
Ƭ̵̬̊ Player Formly Known As MousecopƬ̵̬̊
Jed Hoyer’s press conference will be interesting.
He’ll talk in circles until everyone falls asleep. For some reason, I’m not upset that they didn’t trade Willson. He was pretty emotional about leaving.
No surprises here… Contreras should accept the QO because his market as a catcher is going to be pretty slim.
red Sox, cardinals, cubs, indians.
I think he will be fine
You can strike CLE from that list. They won’t pay any C more than $10M/year. Sure, they need him, but they’d rather have a glove first/no stick C for $2-4M every day of the week.
We’ll never know what the best offer was, but I cannot imagine keeping him and settling for the QO was the best possible scenario. Get what you can in a trade and then sign him as a FA this winter if you feel you have to.
The cubs will use the qualifying offer as leverage in extension talks. 4/60-5/80 tops for Contreras’s next contract.
Those teams may need catching but they are not going to break the bank for a catcher who is ooor at handling a pitching staff. Even the cubs have moved more away from him behind the plate in favor of Gomes.
Then again, everyone smarter than I am said they cubs were going to trade him… best catcher in the league.. so what do I know.
And nobody is touching Piscotty with a 10-foot pole. Most other teams would have eaten the rest of his contract, taken the buyout for ‘23, and cut him loose by now.
After all that crying done by Willson he doesn’t even have to leave.
Crying?! For two months and more he’s been on edge, wondering where he might end up. That’s stress, pal. And what about his family? Your empathy is underwhelming.
He makes $10M playing a game. Nobody has empathy for Contreras, signed a Cubs fan
He’s still a human and from another country/culture. The Cubs org and Chicago has been home to him all while his native country and family live in the poverty and despair of socialism. Again, a little empathy maybe?
Then don’t be a pro athlete. This is part of the job.
LOL stfu tough guy. Willson Contreras would snap you like a twig.
But he isn’t going to do that. And you’re no better, lady.
Bravely written. chound.
Last year they commit to rebuilding.. this year they hold tight. Makes no sense.
That is flipping disgraceful and should cost some very high end jobs if true.
Big mistake on their part.
Mets are a joke of a franchise. uNcLe StEvE. Bahaha
Yeah, a first place team is a joke. Clown comment, bro.
Not for long.
Been hearing that for a month and deGrom is back tonight.
He’s good. He won’t make 5 starts.
He won’t see 4 more starts this half.
Looking forward to Sunday aren’t you? See you soon. Mad Max Saturday and Jake on Sunday. He does look rusty. Only hit 102 twice so far.
I’m still thinking about the line “Clown comment, bro.” That’s gold jerry. Gold.
Because it is a clown comment. You losers have been predicting a Braves division title for over a month and they’re still three games back with the easiest part of the Mets schedule coming up and deGrom coming back.
‘Joke of a franchise’ yet ahead of the Braves. Clown. Comment.
Ƭ̵̬̊ Player Formly Known As MousecopƬ̵̬̊
Well they are. They didn’t trade for the best catcher on the market. He would’ve immediately made them better at catcher
Why? Because they didn’t overpay for an aging and oft injured catcher while having the overall top rated prospect, a catcher, in all of baseball? You clowns just look dumber and number with each LoL Mets comment.
Willson gonna walk for basically nothing.
Dumb dumb dumb. And here I had faith in the cubs rebuild. Fire Hoyer immediately
Joe It All
Cubs fans are irate right now. Flat screens are getting smashed and all the kids in the house are ducking and covering. Trying to figure out how none of their three most attractive trade pieces got moved. I guess Hoyer subscribes to Lloyd Christmas and still thinks there is a chance.
We’re irate that we kept 2 All Star players that we love? Ok bro.
Joe It All
I like your perspective and that’s a good way to look at it but I assure you there are quite a few of your fans that wanted them moved for players with more long term control to help speed up the mini rebuild and reload.
If you’re a cubs fan you should be irate. Whether you love them or not it made no sense to hang onto them instead of getting a few prospects for them. Cubs won’t compete for at least 3 seasons. Learn sports.
If a team does sports the right way, there’s never a need for a total rebuild. Nothing says you can’t have a win now mentality and team, while still padding your future with a formidable farm system. Though it’s been 11 years since they won the WS, the cards have been in the mix consistently for decades with this formula. Win now with a forget the future mentality is a bad way to steer the ship.
Meatball cubs fans maybe. Discriminating fans realize it’s pointless to move a player if you’re not getting back what you perceive as equal or excess value.
Contreas is going to be 31. Happ has been streaky his whole career. You get something for them when you can. If you don’t get equal value that says more about the gms abilities than anything. But you have to trade these guys. Because keeping them doesn’t really make the team any more competitive
Then why not just extend them? What is going on?
Lmfao! What a colossal screwup!
Are the A’s keeping everyone as well (other than Montas+Trivino)?? WTF
Laureano and Murphy have several years of arb eligibility left. No rush to move them at this year’s trade deadline. Who else would you want to move. Pinder? Piscotty?
Well… That’s awkward
Kelly Wunsch N' Munch
That is a missed opportunity for the Northsiders. Not too sure what they’re playing at with that.
MC Tim C
Should have traded him during the off-season. Instead they’ll lose him for nothing or (worse) give him a long contract extension.
The core of Rizzo, Bryant, Baez and Contreras will all be gone (to be fair, the first three stink now) and all the Cubs basically got was Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Being a Cubs fan sucks.
You won a World Series just a few years ago. Wait another 100 years before whining again.
Kevin Alcantara is a Top-100 prospect. Caleb Kilian is having a good year in AAA and will be in the rotation next season. Alexander Canario is having a huge year in AA. Then add in Crow-Armstrong. And all of those trades were for rental players. Hoyer & co had a hell of a trade deadline last year. Oh, and Rizzo is playing better than he has since 2017.
This is way off base. It appears they picked up some quality pitching arms this off-season by just flipping from the bullpen. The cubs are in a good position going forward. Their farm is deep and tons of payroll flexibility.
They got a lot more than that , doofus. They cleaned up last deadline. This one is not bad.
Joe It All
Poor Ian Happ already sublet his apartment to somebody else.
Cubbies gonna Cub.
And yet, they did a whole lot more to improve themselves than the supposedly-win-now White Sox did at the deadline.
White Sox doing absolutely nothing shows you how much confidence they have in this “World Series” contending team. They had a lot of holes to plug.
The Cubs live in your head. It must suck to be a White Sox fan and be far more concerned with the North Side. Oh well. At least we don’t have Tony LaRussa intentionally walking guys with 3-0 counts.
Lot of sellers banked on desperation and way overvalued their trade chips.
This is a DISASTER for the cubs. They are the clear losers of this trade deadline.
Happ can still be extended or flipped, Willson isn’t getting extended, but clear they were not offered anything better than the comp pick they’ll get or they overplayed their hand. I get the sense most teams did not prefer him as a catcher and were not valuing him enough to offer that level prospect/s.
Heck yeah! Glad that they are keeping Wilco
Only for 2 months
Not trading Happ is not a bad thing. He has another year under control and they can revisit trades in the winter or look at an extension for him. If they didn’t get a good enough offer then they did the right thing. That said, not sure what’s up with not trading Contreras.
Extend Contreras for 4 years. Happ is under contract. I don’t see a problem here. Now Contreras will be much less demanding as far as years and $$$. He has been in the Cubs organization for 13 years. He will sign.
Who says Contreras will sign an extension? And who says he wouldn’t have come back if they traded him then offered him close to the most $ in the offseason?
After what the Cubs and Hoyer put Contreras thru I wouldn’t blame him for wanting out now. The Cubs organization is a joke!
If he can’t handle trade rumors he shouldn’t be a MLB player…
If they didn’t like what they were being offered for Happ, That’s OK cause he has another year of control. Contreras on the other hand, shouldn’t fit a rebuild club. And it all depends upon what they were being offered but maybe the Cubs felt the qualifying offer comp pick in the second round was better
In other words s***ing the bed
Cubs heading back to the cellar for another century. You’d think they would have learned their lesson holding on to Baez/Rizzo/Bryant til the last minute. Their farm could have been stockpiled with talent.
It is. Top 10 in most rankings.
They could be #1 in most rankings if they traded that trio earlier.
Willson, accept your 4/60… it’s the best you’re going to get
How baseball works here Ill educate the uneducated. Contreas is a FA next yr. Usually a rentle typically dont net you a top 50 prospect at all. Usually u get a few Low A type guys.. Maybe teams wernt offering What his true value is.. Willy is known to working with his pitchers well. Its well known over Wrigleyville that his pitchers love him and he is good at developing them. Also, Their is something called a Qualifying offer. Which means this year they will offer it. If he were to Decline it (in Which He will) They will most likely get a 2nd round pick of some sort for him.. It varies on the team who signs him base on iff they go over the Lux Tax or not.. Honestly i wanted prospects for him then in the Fall bring him back for 4 years.. He is a great leader works well with his pitchers etc. Plus he can DH and play The OF if he isnt catching. Thats my opinion
They easily could have gotten better than a 2nd round pick for Contreras. Also, whether or not the signing team exceeded the luxury tax has no bearing on where the comp pick for Contreras falls. Educate yourself before calling others uneducated.
What education gives you the knowledge that they easily could have gotten better value. As far as I know, the offers aren’t known. So how would you even know that?
I’d wager the assumption is that they would have traded him in the scenario you suggested
The fact that Contreras just started the ASG for the NL squad and that it was a seller’s market this year.
What happens when you over value your guys? You get nothing. I mean even the Yankees got something for Gallo. Enjoy! Another 100 year drought would be a ok by me
Better than trade for less than actual value. You have to make a stand at some point or you’ll fall all the time. Besides you would be here saying they got fleeced anyways, if they did.
Actual value IS what the highest bidder offers. At this point all Contreras represented to Chicago was that QO comp pick.
At least if you’re gonna hate, come up with some new material.
As someone who lives in Chicago, I had to hear about this nonsense for month and months for…that result?
Ok they are going to QO both of them then make no effort to resign either. Two draft picks. Here we go with another “rebuild.” Just a guess.
Name checks out…Happ still has a year
Thanks I thought he was a free agent to be as well.
A pick in the first 5 rounds of the draft isn’t nothing. It matters, just for whatever reason more draft picks and allotment money is seen as nothing in this sport. Other sports, nfl, for example, picks mean something.
Ok sounds good. Wasn’t my point but ok.
Well go for the point then? You and many others act like 2 draft picks is nothing. drafting between rounds 1 and 5 is exactly what teams like the rays are good at. Which is why they stay successful. They find ways to Accumulate talent. That’s all that matters.
Looks like another “rebuild” on the way. That’s my point. Leaving the fans with a garbage product while the owners keep all the extra millions under the guise of “rebuilding the farm system.” Got it?
Best guess is that nobody made an offer they liked for either of them so they wait for the QO draft pick comp on Willson and try to move Happ in the off-season or next year at the deadline. There is no sense In giving them away. Happ has another arb year, which carries value. The QO draft pick comp has a clear value. Catcher’s value is diminished for some teams in a half season and other teams won’t value Contreras’ leadership the same way the Cubs do. If no team is offering anything better than the QO value or the extra arb season value then you keep them. My guess is Hoyer will say just that. And it’s the right move.
and what if he gets injured in the next 50 games????
What if shouldn’t be relevant. What is. It is what it is. A gamble, so is trading a guy for prospects.
So is keeping him and losing him for a QO comp pick.
… exactly, which is why if both things are similar gambles, choose the gamble you feel most comfortable having success with. Which, they have had a few drafts with success between rds 1-5.
Did Willy kill part of his value by going into a mini-slump and getting emotional about not wanting to leave??
As a Cubs fan, would make me much more inclined that this team will try and spend and compete in 2023 by not trading these 2.
mils – Yes, they’re so valuable that you can build a team around these two players, but yet no team offered anything valuable to acquire them. Something doesn’t add up.
Cubs fans should be livid. Neither one of these guys will be around when the Cubs are contenders again. They should have leveraged all of their core guys for a package of quality prospects by trading them when they had some CLUB CONTROL left on their respective contracts. These decisions by the Cubs’ front office defy all logic if you’re not willing to spend and you’re relying on a rebuild to contend again. I mean, have you seen what the Reds got for Luis Castillo? That is how you do it my guy.
Apples and oranges. Every team can use a starting pitcher like Castillo. And the consensus is DiPoto overpaid to get his man.
The Cubs front office is a joke.
The cubs must think they can re-sign Contreras in the off-season
The lack of movement on Contreras and Happ seems to indicate that the Cubs were holding it for a king’s ransom and by the time they realized it there were no longer any partners to dance with.
At the end of the day if they were getting low balled because in the recent past they over paid quite a bit to get the world series and now teams think they can get away with it im ok with making a stand one time to show those days are over..just gotta be sure not to over value your assets make a pattern of this…but over all i think they did ok got some prospects for a bunch of rentals who had no future value to them..hard to complain about that
We can all agree this is really stupid
I can’t agree with that. Context is needed to truly weigh this decision
One of the worst run teams in baseball, hanging on to their fan base because of curse ending 2016. For those of us old enough to remember the mid 80’s, Wrigley is soon going tobe a ghost town hoping to draw 5000 fans.
They are literally running it into the ground, focusing on maximizing profits only (I don’t blame them, it is a business after all). No loyalty to their fan base (examples include the Marquee Network over their WGN contracts) and no loyalty to their players (see Schwarber, Rizzo, and Bryant). Instead, we have a slightly renovated park and a highly renovated surrounding area, causing ticket prices to sit out of control.
Thanks Rickets, Hoyer, and the FO. You really know how to kill a fan base.
Happ’s value is(was) at it’s peak…. you will likely get less at next year’s deadline….The only reason not to trade Contreras is to screw him over in Free Agency with the QO, probably costing him millions ….. He’s not resigning and it’s a bad look all around
We have no idea what was offered in a happ trade. Honestly can’t fully evaluate the non move until (if) we know.
So many salty fans of teams other than the cubs. They will QO and get compensation in next year’s draft. They also could look to strike a deal and extend him still. A little bummed happ didn’t get moved since he was one of the top available bats and likely never higher value wise.
Happ remained with our Cubs mainly due to a lack of speed and versatility in the outfield. He’s simply mediocre defensively. I would think he would land on another team looking for DH qualities. Happ, although with above average bat speed, continues to strikeout on calls, i.e., fooled by pitches away on the corners and should be working on protecting the plate with two strikes.
Cubs are a mess
Gotta put butts in the seats somehow
Who cares about that?
Play the Game
Clueless move by Hoyer with Contreras. A QO for this guy is a big Miss!