The Chicago Cubs have made one trade today ahead of the 6 p.m. ET trade deadline in sending closer David Robertson to Philadelphia, but in a pretty big surprise the team still has All-Star catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ not just on the roster but in tonight's starting lineup in St. Louis. That doesn't mean they will actually take the field, however. The Cardinals are -175 at Caesars Sportsbook.
This writer will be completely shocked if Contreras (.254, 14 HRs, 38 RBI) isn't dealt. He's a free agent after the season and the Cubs haven't approached him about an extension. The Padres were considered a possible landing spot but when they got Juan Soto and Josh Bell, that took San Diego out of the market. The Mets traded for a right-handed bat in the Giants' Darin Ruf and are reportedly pivoting to the relief pitching market, so they apparently are out as well. The Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays are still in and a few other teams could be interested.
Contreras leads all National League qualified catchers in OBP (.365) and runs scored (51), and is second in slugging (.453) and home runs (14), third in hits (80) and average (.252) and leads the majors with 20 HBP.
Happ is controllable through next season but still is expected to be dealt simply because his value will never be higher and many teams need outfield help. Happ is second among MLB switch-hitters with a .360 OBP and fourth with a .796 OPS. He is one of 12 NL players to record at least 36 extra-base hits and 42 walks in 2022 and leads the club with 100 hits, 25 doubles, 42 walks and 23 multi-hit efforts and ranks second with 46 RBI.
Robertson is 3-0 with 14 saves and a 2.23 ERA and should be replaced in the closer's role by Mychal Givens (6-2, 2.66 ERA, two saves), unless he too is traded. Givens has not allowed an earned run in his last 17.1 innings spanning 16 games since June 16. He has walked six, struck out 20 and held opponents to a .500 OPS in this stretch.
St. Louis had not made a trade today as of this writing and was a finalist for Soto. Future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina was activated off the injured list and is in the lineup. He has been out since mid-June. Outfielder Tyler O'Neill is not starting a second straight game due to a leg issue.
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