Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays

MLB rumors: 3 dark horse teams that should trade for Willson Contreras

The Cubs are actively shopping Willson Contreras, but what teams make the most sense as potential destinations?

There’s a fluid free agent market at the catcher position this offseason, with JT Realmuto and James McCann leading the way. Realmuto is expected to reset the market at the position, though such a deal could price some teams out of the bidding. With that in mind, the Cubs are taking calls on their own All-Star caliber backstop in Willson Contreras. At 28, Contreras is still in his prime and coming off two NL All-Star appearances in 2018 and 2019. Despite a down year by his standards in 2020, there’s plenty of reason for the Cubs to trade Contreras while his value is high.

Jed Hoyer is taking on the task Cubs ownership has bestowed upon him, and it won’t make him very well-liked in the Chicago sports market. Hoyer is dismantling the Cubs 2016 World Series core sooner than necessary. From a financial standpoint, however, it can’t come soon enough. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are nearing the end of their contracts, while Contreras has two years left on his. The Cubs just let Kyle Schwarber walk rather than pay him a likely $8 million per year in arbitration.

As solid as Contreras is in all facets of the game, the Cubs can get back a prospect haul if they trade him right now. With that in mind, here are some under the radar teams that could trade for Contreras.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays haven’t been shy about their need for a catcher this offseason. Mike Zunino was their best backstop at times last season, and there’s no obvious replacement on the way in the farm system. With that in mind, Contreras is young enough and under team control for long enough for the Rays to make a move.

By no means would Tampa Bay be planning on signing Contreras after the 2022 season. Because of this, they likely wouldn’t part ways with their very best prospects. But, the likes of former Pirates first-round pick Shane Baz, who has developed quite nicely in the Rays system and is near ready for the majors, would be a nice price the Cubs could fetch as the centerpiece of a return.

Tampa Bay isn’t going to be a major player in the free agent market…ever. As currently constructed, they’re a small market team with excellent player development skills. The Rays take calculated risks, and this is one of those. Trading prospects never comes willingly in Tampa Bay, but this is an exception. Contreras is too good to pass up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *