Cubs Rumors: Houston Astros interested in Willson Contreras
According to the latest rumors, the Houston Astros have some degree of interest in two-time All-Star and Chicago Cubs backstop Willson Contreras.
At this point, it seems like a foregone conclusion the Cubs are going to move off of at least one of their core guys – Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo (I’ll believe it when I see it), Kyle Schwarber or Willson Contreras. The latter makes the most sense to me, personally, given the team’s talent behind the plate in the organization and the bevy of veterans available in free agency.
According to The Athletic, the Houston Astros (who certainly have a lot of problems on their plate besides adding to a roster that made it to the World Series for the second time in three years) have interest in Contreras.
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While the piece isn’t specifically about Contreras and Houston’s interest in the standout backstop, there’s a bit that jumped out when I read it:
"“[T]he Astros went into this offseason with an interest in Willson Contreras, according to a source familiar with the team’s thinking, and they have a need for a frontline catcher.”"
I’ll preface the rest of this piece with this: I’ve always loved the Astros – even when they were in the National League Central. The Cubs have always come first, but as a kid, I loved watching the original Killer B’s do their work. In fact, my all-time favorite player is Craig Biggio (fun fact).
That all being said, things have gone from bad to worse for the organization in the last year-plus, peaking with the ongoing investigations into the team reportedly using outfield cameras to tip their hitters off at the dish. In short, it’s a bad time to have a vested interest in the Astros.
But back to the rumors. I’m here for it. If the Cubs are coming off one of their big-name guys, I think Contreras will fetch the best return. In my mind, Chicago values someone like Bryant in a way similar to how the Red Sox view Mookie Betts – which makes a trade that appeases both sides somewhat unlikely.
In Contreras, you’re talking about a premier offensive talent in the league, a two-time All-Star and a guy who brings a fire and passion to the game that you can’t help but love. Last season, the Venezuelan native put up a 127 wRC+ in what many consider to be one of his best years to-date.
Now, regardless of the Cubs’ reportedly being hellbent on making a move this winter, it’s going to take a lot for Houston to land Contreras. I’m talking names like Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker. It’s hard to see the Astros coming off Whitley (hey, we can hope, right?) but Tucker could be an option in the outfield. And those two are hardly the only notable names.
Houston’s farm system isn’t what it once was – a lot of the guys who spent time at the top of prospect rankings in recent years have graduated to the big leagues, similar to the Cubs. But they definitely have the pieces to get a Contreras deal done. It’s a matter of Theo Epstein and Jeff Luhnow getting on the same page.
Who knows if anything will come of this – but the Astros are an organization that have shown a willingness to make bold moves and adding Willson Contreras to the mix certainly fits that bill.