Chicago Cubs

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 16: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs throws to second base during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

These three Chicago Cubs free agents don’t fit well enough into next year’s plan to return in 2023.

The 2022 season is winding down for the Chicago Cubs with most of the focus on what lies ahead. They were never meant to be much more successful than they have been this year. From the start of the year, they didn’t look like the same powerful club they were only a few seasons ago with a young core of star players.

With an already strong base of veterans on the roster and some promising young players, next season could be better. The Cubs will need to be smart in free agency with an eye toward winning in the near future and not necessarily only in 2023.

Their trip into free agency will most likely, however, not include inviting these three players on expiring contracts back. Exactly why is it the swan song for this trio and where could they end up instead?

1) Why the Cubs will lose Willson Contreras this offseason

The number of teams in on Willson Contreras this offseason will be far greater than those with interest at the trade deadline. The fact that they were unable to find a deal they were willing to make isn’t so surprising. When it’s the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays essentially bidding against each other and possibly themselves, nobody is going to overpay for a rental catcher.

The stakes are much different in the offseason. Teams that lose their starting catcher to free agency or those that have now decided to go into win-now mode will be contenders to sign Contreras. Not so far from Chicago, we could even see the St. Louis Cardinals get in on the action.

A continued relationship between the Cubs and Contreras is still very possible but consider this: they already have a $6 million backup catcher named Yan Gomes. Pouring that much money into a position isn’t such a great idea. Gomes might be better as a backup or possibly part of a platoon like many of the best teams in baseball do deploy.

Other teams, including the San Francisco Giants, who were once believed to be a trade deadline destination for Contreras, could get in on the action. The Cubs have far greater needs than to pay Contreras big money on even a short-term deal. He’ll turn 31 in May of 2023. He belongs on a club ready to win instantly.

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