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Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Could the Chicago Cubs really trade catcher Wilson Contreras without any real answer at the position behind him?
According to a new report, that may very well be the case, particularly if the team cannot iron out an extension with the star before his contract comes up next season.
Contreras’ status headlines a slew of rumors and reports that also feature the latest on Xander Bogaerts potentially opting out of his contract with the Red Sox and Adam Ottavino’s hope to return to Boston.
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Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras will become a free agent in 2022 but the team hopes to work out a contract extension with him before then. If it cannot, do not be surprised to see him on the trade block, per Shahadev Sharma of The Athletic (h/t MLB.com).
There will almost certainly be buyers for Contreras, whose 21 home runs, 57 RBI and .340 on-base percentage makes him a reliable offensive weapon. He has also proven effective defensively, throwing out 32-percent of would-be base stealers, above the league average for that particular stat.
For the Cubs, dealing Contreras could be problematic given the lack of a quality alternative at the position. There is no catcher already on the club’s roster ready to step in and replicate the output Contreras does. Given the relatively weak catcher market this off-season, a suitable replacement isn’t exactly coming in off the street, either.
Given the wealth of talent the Cubs have let walk over the last two years, it would behoove the club to hold onto Contreras until it knows it has someone that can replace him at his position and contribute immediately to the squad.
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David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom considers Xander Bogaerts a “cornerstone” player but the shortstop will not make it easy for the club.
Joon Lee of ESPN reported, “According to sources close to Bogaerts, the shortstop currently plans on opting out of the contract after 2022, but hopes to remain in Boston and finish his career with the Red Sox. The three-time All-Star shortstop is also open to moving to second or third base down the road.”
The potential for Bogaerts to opt out of said deal (six-years, $120 million signed in 2019) doesn’t necessarily mean he would move on from the Red Sox. Instead, the opt-out gives him the opportunity to negotiate a more favorable deal, particularly in the wake of a Francisco Lindor deal worth $341 million that shook up the shortstop market in Major League Baseball.
Bogaerts is a three-time all-star and one of the better shortstops in the league.
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Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Adam Ottavino may have been traded from the Yankees to the Red Sox as part of a salary dump early in the 2021 season, but the reliever would love to return to Boston for another season on the heels of an ALCS appearance.
Speaking to Rob Bradford of WEEI, he said, “Seven months ago I didn’t know how good we were going to be. I didn’t know if I was going to be traded at the deadline, or if we were going to be mediocre. Clearly, I figured out we were pretty good right away so that was exciting. It was always a place I wanted to play. I really love the coaching staff and support staff.”
To say the Red Sox benefited from having Ottavino in the bullpen would be an understatement. In the games the right-handed pitcher appeared, the team amassed a 49-20 record. He was especially effective against right-handed hitters.
Still, despite his efforts for the Sox, he understands that it may not be in the cards to return to the team and he doesn’t want to let emotions or expectations get in the way. “At this point in my life, I’m open to everything. Of course, I would love to come back, but I don’t want to get emotionally caught one way or the other.”