Cubs keep Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, trade David Robertson and Mychal Givens

Despite weeks of trade speculation, Contreras and Happ will remain with the Cubs. Robertson, 37, claimed the closer role this year with a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves.

SHARE Cubs keep Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, trade David Robertson and Mychal Givens
Cubs’ Willson Contreras hugs teammate Ian Happ after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 in a baseball game Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Chicago.

Cubs’ Willson Contreras hugs teammate Ian Happ after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 in a baseball game Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Chicago.

AP Photos

ST. LOUIS — On deadline day, closer David Robertson was the first Cub to be traded. He was sent to the Phillies for minor-league pitcher Ben Brown on Tuesday.

Next to go was reliever Mychal Givens, whom the Cubs traded to the Mets for right-hander Saul Gonzalez.

Those moves were expected. The most notable development was whom the Cubs didn’t trade: Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Both were at the center of trade rumors for days.

“That’s sort of how the trade market has gone: It’s gotten later and later and closer to the deadline all the time,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. “Last year, we did three deals in the last couple of hours before the deadline. And this year, it felt like the deals were trending later, as well.”

The four major-league players the Cubs traded away leading up to the deadline were all relievers, with Robertson and Givens joining Chris Martin and Scott Effross.The Cubs also traded minor-league middle infielder Dixon Machado to the Giants for right-handed prospect Raynel Espinal on Sunday.

Robertson, 37, claimed the closer role for the Cubs this year and had a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves. He joined the Cubs this spring on a one-year deal worth $3.5 million plus incentives.

Also this spring, Givens signed a one-year, $5 million deal with a mutual option for 2023. He has been on a dominant streak the last 1œ months and hasn’t given up an earned run since June 16.

“I’m pretty excited,” Givens said. “I get to reunite with [Mets manager] Buck Showalter. He had me as a rookie. Just happy, excited to contend for a playoff push.”

The Cubs’ biggest focus at the deadline was adding power arms. Hoyer said Hayden Wesneski, whom the Cubs acquired for Effross, and Brown had come up in previous trade talks.

“Sometimes that familiarity helps to do deals,” Hoyer said. “But I’m looking forward to getting those guys in Cubs uniforms at various levels.”

Baseball America ranked Brown No. 7 among Phillies prospects, and MLB Pipeline put him at No. 26. He had a 3.08 ERA in High-A this season with 12.95 strikeouts per nine innings. The Phillies had promoted him to Double-A on Monday.

Gonzalez had a 2.81 ERA in 14 games with the Mets’ Single-A affiliate.

“I really feel good about where our system is right now as a whole,” Hoyer said.

“I think we’re really deep. We’ve continued to get deeper through a good draft and through the deadline, and, obviously, last year we acquired a ton of prospects. I’m really proud of where we’ve come in one year.”

Roster moves

The Cubs opened a three-game series Tuesday with the Cardinals, and afternoon trades left a couple of holes. In addition, the Cubs put left-hander Steven Brault on the COVID-19-related injured list.

Filling out the active roster, they reinstated second baseman Nick Madrigal from the 10-day injured list and recalled pitchers Michael Rucker and Anderson Espinoza from Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs also claimed right-hander Kervin Castro off waivers from the Giants and optioned him to Iowa.

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