Chicago Cubs Rumors: Houston Astros interested in Willson Contreras

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

It’s no secret the Houston Astros have a strong need for an offensive catcher and they almost connected with the Chicago Cubs on a trade for Willson Contreras at the Major League Baseball trade deadline last summer. The Cubs and Astros had a deal in place for the three-time all-star in exchange for starting pitcher Jose Urquidy. Now, rumors are beginning to swirl about the Astros’ interest in Contreras again. It's really unsurprising when you understand how much of a fit for the Astros Contreras is. It does make sense for a couple of reasons for Houston to wait to try to acquire him in free agency.

Given the fact that the Astros have been connected to Contreras, it’s really no secret that they are hot on the trail to acquire him. The Astros appeared to desperately have needed a catcher that could produce offensively, or at least a designated hitter as a way to not interfere with the rapport that catcher Martin Maldonado has with the team's pitching staff. Now, it won’t cost them anything except cash to acquire his services and Contreras could have a whole offseason/Spring Training to connect with the Astros' pitching staff.

Contreras has been quoted in the past saying he “wants to be somewhere where he's wanted.” I think it is important here to understand that catchers don’t always age well. So the front office's decision to let Contreras walk isn’t a form of disloyalty. It was a business decision for the betterment of the Cubs moving forward. At the very least, we can put to bed any ideology that the Cubs should have at least tried to trade him at the deadline.

Despite a failed trade during the season, the Houston Astros may wind up with Willson Contreras after all.

As stated, it was reported once the season concluded that the Cubs did in fact have a deal in place with the Astros that included Urquidy, which was ultimately shot down with help from Astros' manager Dusty Baker. Inevitably, the Cubs were blocked from having any other time to move him. After the Astros won the World Series, it seems the Astros front office made the right decision in waiting until the offseason to pursue Contreras. The gamble to keep Urquidy and acquire Contreras, later on, has paid off in a major way. As long as they land him that is.

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Currently, there are other teams that could be a fit for Contreras. The Astros and St Louis Cardinals seem to be the first two teams where smoke is starting to plume. Expect much more of that in the coming days and weeks as Contreras is clearly the most coveted free-agent catcher available this winter, even if he does come with draft-pick compensation. One thing is for sure. Contreras will not be in Cubbie blue next season. No matter what, he will always be a fan favorite of the Wrigleyville faithful.