Last season, the Chicago Cubs made clear with their trade deadline firesale that they knew the roster needed to be reconstructed.
However, a couple ambitious moves over the offseason signaled an eye towards potentially competing this season. But they sit 10 games under .500 and 12 games out of first in the division through Memorial Day, and it seems like we might be heading towards a similar deadline in Wrigleyville in 2022.
The Cubs’ 2016 core is mostly gone now, and they’re in the process of establishing their next one. For now, there are a handful of veterans who represent decent trade chips, and the New York Post’s Jon Heyman said on Audacy’s “Big Time Baseball" podcast that there are a few guys he could see going this summer.
“I see the Cubs as a seller, with some pieces to sell," the Audacy MLB insider said. "I don’t think they’ll sell (Kyle) Hendricks, but I could see (Ian) Happ potentially, I could see (Marcus) Stroman, and certainly the catcher. That will be a big one, Wilson Contreras has hit very well. …
“They have not really made a move toward extending Contreras, and he is a free agent after the year. It’s been a down year for offense, but it’s certainly been a down year for catching offense all over the place, so I think that will be a big trade piece that people will be interested in, is Wilson Contreras.”
Contreras has been on the trade radar for a while, and the longer he goes without a new contract the more likely it seems he’ll be moved. Stroman at his best is a quality mid-to-back of the rotation starter, but he’s been erratic at times in his career and has limited postseason experience. He's pitched well enough this year to represent a solid depth starter for a contending team. Happ could be of value to teams because he can play pretty much everywhere and has the ability to hit for power.
The Cubs have occasionally shown promising flashes this season, but have stumbled far too often. It’s tough to totally write a team off before May is over, but things will have to get way better for the Chicago – and quickly – to keep it from heading down a similar path as last year.