Latest On Market For Willson Contreras


Free agency starts in a few days, and Willson Contreras the undisputed top backstop will be available. The career-long Cub is sure to receive and turn down a qualifying offer from Chicago, as his representatives at Octagon look for a strong multi-year pact.

While clubs cannot formally begin discussing contract terms with other teams’ free players until Thursday, they have no doubt identified interesting players as the off-season is underway. A few teams outside of Chicago have already emerged loosely in the Contreras market. Jon Morosi from tweeted this morning, the Tigers are interested in the three-time All-Star, while Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link) hears that the Astros are considering a free chase.

In either case, the link is easy to see. Detroit is led by Scott Harris, freshman president of baseball operations, who worked in the Cubs front office until the end of the 2019 season. Harris’s familiarity with Contreras in itself doesn’t give Detroit much of a head start in free-choice, but there’s a clear opportunity for them to seek help. Detroit sees Tucker Barnhart hit free agency, and it seems unlikely that he will return after a difficult year. Eric Haase has decent strength and could be an immediate catch option after hitting .254/.305/.443 in 110 games, but he has never had a high defensive score and may be better suited for more left field work and/or as designated batter.

Harris specifically declined to comment on Contreras when he spoke to reporters tonight at the GM Meetings (via Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press). However, he sounded broadly open to the idea of ​​adding catchy help from outside the organization. Harris noted the presence of an internal talent for prospects – presumably mainly related to the former second round pick Dillon Dingler and until 2021 11th-rounder Josh Crouch — but downplayed the likelihood of someone from the system grabbing that job before 2023. Neither Dingler nor Crouch need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, and neither has reached Triple-A yet. Whether Detroit would be willing to give up a draft pick for a qualified free agent after a 66-win season is fair to ask, but it seems likely that the Tigers will be catcher in some form in the coming months. tackle.

In any case, the Astros’ interest in Contreras goes back to last summer. The front office arranged a deal that would have shipped Jose Urquidy to the Cubs for Contreras on the deadline, but Houston owner Jim Crane vetoed it. Houston turned to land Christian Vazquez of the Red Sox instead, but he is now the #2 backstop behind Contreras in free agency. A Vázquez reunion looks unlikely after seeing sporadic playing time behind Martin Maldonado the piece off. Maldonado’s presence could also be a roadblock to a chase by Contreras, given the World Series champion’s longstanding affinity with the defensive specialist, but Contreras could be such a clear offensive upgrade that the team is willing to consider the playing time of Maldonado backwards to add a batting bat. .

Interest in Contreras will certainly extend beyond two teams. High-ranking executives at the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Red Sox have already announced they are open to adding behind the plate. Katie Woo of the Athletic tweets the Cardinals consider catcher their No. 1 priority, with baseball operations president John Mozeliak open to both free agents and trading opportunities. The Cardinals have long prioritized elite defense behind the saucer with Yadier Molinawhich might not make them a good fit for a bat-first player like Contreras, but Woo tells me that St. Louis isn’t just looking for defensive stalwarts, but is prioritizing overall impact from the position.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, may have more trepidation about Contreras’ mixed reputation as a game-goer. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes that Boston is unlikely to make a serious run at the 30-year-old backstop, as they put an emphasis on managing a pitching staff. Concerns over Contreras’ game-calling acumen were also mentioned during the deadline, perhaps playing a part in the Cubs finding no offer that inspired them to part ways, despite being well out of the playoff battle. Speier notes that the Red Sox have long been interested in A .’s backstop Sean Murphy – who will be a frequent trade target again this winter – and reports they previously checked in on the Padres’ Austin Nolac.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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