The Rays had one weakness on their American League-winning roster in 2020.
Mike Zunino is not a World Series-winning catcher, sorry. With the Rays already looking for ways to retool this offseason — hence the Blake Snell trade rumors — Tampa should try to upgrade at positions of need. Luckily, the Rays can deal from their stacked farm system, and obvious positions of strength within their organization.
Enter the Cubs, who after parting ways with Theo Epstein are going through with their own rebuild of sorts, looking to get rid of a few members of their 2016 World Series-winning core in return for prospects. The Rays can offer that, and Willson Contreras just so happens to be one of the better catchers in the National League. The Cubs have let it be known he’s available for the right price.
Contreras would be a major upgrade for Tampa Bay
Entering his age-29 season, Contreras has made two straight All-Star games, not counting the shortened 2020 campaign, in which there was no mid-summer classic. Last year, he hit .243 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs.
So, what would it take to pry Contreras away from the Windy City? Look no further than some of the Rays best pitching prospects.
C, Willson Contreras
RHP, Shane Baz
C, Ronaldo Hernandez
LHP, John Doxakis
Baz is a former first-round pick of the Pirates, and was acquired as part of the haul which went to Tampa Bay in the lopsided Chris Archer trade. He is the Rays No. 5 overall prospect, and would immediately shoot near the top of the Cubs system.
Hernandez is a potential depth replacement at catcher for the Cubs, while the 21-year-old Doxakis has some potential as a bullpen piece somewhere down the line. Overall, that’s a pretty even deal assuming the Rays aren’t hoarding prospects this time of year.