Willson Contreras and Ian Happ lacking deadline as Chicago Cubs fail to seek out ‘motivated’ commerce companion

ST. LOUIS — In the end, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer says he just couldn’t find a match with another team for his All-Star catcher and left fielder.

Willson Contreras and Ian Happ will remain Cubs for now, despite weeks of speculation that they would move.

“We never crossed that threshold,” Hoyer said of the deal. “This year I realize how lucky we were last year.

in 2021 on the day of the deadline, Hoyer traded within 24 hours Chris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo for prospects that may have led Contreras and others to believe it would happen again this time, Hoyer speculated.

As a result, the veteran in what was believed to be his final game at Wrigley Field last week received a standing ovation and an emotional farewell to teammates and fans as the trade deadline approached. Everything was in vain.

“We just haven’t found it this year [match]” Hoyer said. “There seems to be a lot of players [around the league] remained in place. I think it was because there were very rational buyers in all these markets and there were no buyers willing to part with certain prospects.

Contreras described missing the deadline as “a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

“Today was a long day,” he continued. “I was very anxious to see what would happen. When 5 p.m. CT came and David Ross told me I was a chick, that was amazing.

Happ also called it a “crazy couple of weeks,” adding, “I’m very happy to still be here.”

Hoyer was asked if John Sototrade in San Diego affected his negotiations. According to league sources, the Padres have been interested in several Cubs, including Happ and Contreras.

“It was the most interesting thing to talk about, so it probably raised the market a little bit,” Hoyer said. “Everybody was waiting to see what was going to happen. We all felt that when he moved, the dominoes would fall.”

Happ still has one more year of team control, but Contreras will be a free agent at the end of the season. He will likely receive a qualifying offer from the Cubs, which means the team that signs him will have to give up compensation for him if he declines the offer.

Hoyer said it was all part of the Cubs’ calculation: trading for a prospect they didn’t necessarily believe in versus an extra draft pick.

“We’ve never found trades that exceed the value of the players we have, and when we have, we’ve made some trades,” Hoyer explained.

The team traded easy David Robertson (Phillies) and Michael Givens (Mets) after moving on Tuesday Chris Martin (Dodgers) over the weekend. But they couldn’t find their favorite buyers in the catch and field market.

“In some other markets, buyers weren’t motivated,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer admitted he’s a little uncomfortable with Contreras and Happ’s send-offs over the past week.

“We never gave a message to anybody that we were going to trade with anybody at any price,” he said.

Happ explained that with the back-and-forth momentum surrounding a potential deal, “you still have to go out and do your job and handle all those things.

“When you have to sit and wait, those are the hardest times.”

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