Cubs Rumors: 3 early suitors for Willson Contreras in free agency
Cubs Rumors: 3 early Willson Contreras suitors: #2 - Detroit Tigers
It's safe to say the 2022 Detroit Tigers were a disappointment. After a busy offseason last winter that saw them add Eduardo Rodriguez and longtime Cubs fan favorite Javier Baez that was supposed to align with the arrival of top prospects, Detroit limped to a 66-96 clip.
That performance led to the dismissal of longtime front office leader Al Avila, who was replaced by former Cubs executive and Giants GM as the Tigers' president of baseball operations back in September. Given Harris' history in Chicago, it makes sense that Contreras is on his radar as his team looks to upgrade behind the plate.
Another of the team's additions last winter came in the form of veteran Gold Glover Tucker Barnhart. But he struggled a great deal in the Motor City, finishing the year with a 64 OPS+ while taking a step backwards defensively, as well. With Barnhart also a free agent, there's definitely room to improve behind the plate. Thankfully, the continued emergence of Eric Haase helped stem the bleeding - but it remains to be seen how Harris and the new regime views his role long-term.
Also keep in mind, the Detroit offense was woeful. Not a single Tigers player hit 20 or more home runs this year - so adding Contreras' bat to the mix, regardless of his defensive role, should be a huge plus. Could a reunion with Contreras help get Baez back on track? The former NL MVP runner-up fell well short of expectations in the first year of his deal - and if the Tigers are going to make a run in the AL Central, he'll have to get things figured out.