Chicago Cubs: 2 off-the-wall and 1 likely Willson Contreras trade destinations

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Chicago Cubs / Willson Contreras
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Chicago Cubs: 3 Trade Destinations for Willson Contreras – #1: Houston Astros

For many of the same reasons as Oakland, Houston will be looking to add a backstop to their lineup this offseason. The free agent market for catchers is quite thin, in fact two of them are an A’s catcher and Houston’s current catcher, Martin Maldonado. Maldonado recently turned 35 and is on the back end of his career.

As for his performance, Maldonado has slashed a measly .170.270/.293 during the 2021 campaign. Though the Astros also have Jason Castro (currently on the IL) and Garrett Stubbs, adding a veteran presence in the form of Contreras  bolsters the Astros not just offensively, but defensively, while also separating themselves from the AL West rival Athletics, too. With Zach Greinke ($35M) and Carlos Correa ($11.7M) both coming off the books, the Astros can once again afford to be aggressive in free agency or via the trade market.

Ironically, also like the Athletics, the Astros’ top prospect is currently a catcher in Double-A by the name of Korey Lee. His expected ETA to the big leagues is listed as 2023 according to Fangraphs and assuming that is the case, trading for an All-Star catcher in Contreras and keeping Castro with another year on his deal would suffice.

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Stubbs has really struggled this year, batting just .182/.206/.242. Given Stubbs is controllable through 2026, he could be a potential piece in such a trade. Regardless, the Astros are in a position to make some noise this winter and a trade for Contreras certainly qualifies as such.