A lot has been made about the Cubs' plans this offseason. They've already shown Joe Maddon the door in favor of David Ross at manager, and now there are rumblings that they could move on from standout catcher Willson Contreras.
If they're smart, though, they'll stand pat and keep their slugging backstop right where he is. They should not move him.
It's not everyday that a catcher of his caliber comes around. The 27-year-old stud provides an offensive spark rarely seen behind the plate, and last year he posted career-highs in slugging percentage (.533), home runs (24), isolated power (.261) and fWAR (2.7).
In fact, his 2.7 fWAR ranked sixth in all of baseball despite the fact that he only appeared in 105 games due to injury.
While his defense does leave something to be desired, there's simply no point in trading him. Sure, they'd have the depth to get by without him, but the lineup wouldn't be nearly as threatening without him as it is right now.
His contract situation makes any notion of a trade especially foolish. After this offseason, he'll still have two more years of arbitration left. That's cost-controlled and extendable talent at a premium position. There's no reason to give that up just because the rest of the offense crumbled at critical moments last year.
Yes, the Cubs' farm system is in dire straights, and yes, they need to get younger and cheaper. But they need to do that at positions where they've got aging, costly talent, not burgeoning young stars.
The Cubs shouldn't even entertain the idea of trading Contreras. He's a key contributor who's under contract for the next few years, and the return wouldn't be enough to justify shipping him out.