Bob Nightengale on Cubs' Willson Contreras: 'I think he's gone for sure'

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(Audacy) For some time, catcher Willson Contreras and the Cubs have seemed headed for a divorce this year, and that remains the case inside of two months from the trade deadline.

The 30-year-old Contreras is one of the top players at his position, one that lacks quality offensive options. And with so many catcher-needy teams, he could be an attractive option on the trade market. He’s hitting .276 with a .916 OPS, a mark that leads all MLB catchers by a substantial margin.

As Contreras is set to be a free agent this offseason, the retooling Cubs seem unlikely to reach an extension with him, which Audacy MLB insider Bob Nightengale reiterated on the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday morning. He shot down any chance of a resolution.

“Yeah, I don’t see it happening,” Nightengale said of the two sides reaching an extension. “I think they’re just so far away. He wants to be paid as one of the top catchers in the game. We saw what (J.T.) Realmuto got, over $100 million, he’d like to have something close to that himself. He saw what Salvador Perez got. So I think he’s gone, for sure.

“It’s always possible something could happen in the offseason, but I think go ahead and trade him. If you want, you can always re-sign him in the offseason – I don't’ see that happening. Once a guy gets traded, a little bit like Jon Lester, it’s like, 'OK I’m done now and I'm not coming back.' But I think they could get a ton for Contreras, too many teams could use a great catcher like that. You look at the Houston Astros, their catching has been a nightmare but yet they’re still winning the division. So I think the Cubs hold out and trade this guy the last minute before the trade deadline, try to get as much as possible."

Should the Cubs trade Contreras, they have veteran catcher Yan Gomes (who's currently on the injured list with a left oblique strain) signed through 2023 with a team option for 2024. He's a perfectly fine stopgap, one that in an ideal world would bridge them from Contreras to top catching prospect Miguel Amaya, Chicago’s No. 15 overall prospect who's currently recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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