What's the market look like for Contreras?

August 2nd, 2022

MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest Cubs-related trade rumors right here.

Aug. 2: Rays, Mets in mix for Contreras (report)
The Rays and Mets are in the mix for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. The Padres were also a potential suitor for the All-Star backstop, but after acquiring Josh Hader on Monday and putting together a substantial package for Juan Soto and Josh Bell on Tuesday, San Diego is likely out on Contreras.

Discussions between the Mets and Cubs about Contreras and reliever David Robertson have been ongoing, but New York reportedly has found Chicago's asking price to be too high.

Tampa Bay is in need of another bat with a number of key players sidelined, including catcher Mike Zunino, who is out for the season due to thoracic outlet syndrome.

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi hears that the Cubs could look to pair one of their hitters (Contreras or Ian Happ) with a reliever (Robertson or Mychal Givens) to maximize the return. The Blue Jays and the Mets could be interested in this type of deal, with both looking for relief help.

Aug. 1: Cubs’ All-Star duo a Soto backup plan for Padres?
The Padres landed All-Star closer Josh Hader from the Brewers on Monday (per a source), giving up a substantial package to get the deal done. However, the club still has the prospects to land another big fish, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan points out.

A trade for Juan Soto is just one of a "dizzying number of deals” Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been pursuing, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required).

Per Rosenthal, the Padres and Cubs have been in consistent contact for the past year, discussing a number of different trade concepts. Given its needs at catcher and in the outfield, the team has been linked to Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Sunday night that both were still “players of interest” for San Diego, potentially as a backup plan if the Friars are unable to land Soto.

But San Diego isn't the only suitor for Happ. According to Heyman, the switch-hitter has been "getting huge interest," with the Blue Jays, Braves and Brewers potentially in the mix.

The Mets have also been discussing a trade for Contreras, as well as reliever David Robertson, but reportedly have found the Cubs’ asking price to be too high. SNY’s Andy Martino reported Sunday that New York is unwilling to trade No. 5 prospect Mark Vientos for a rental player, including Contreras and Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez.

July 29: Cubs ‘sure to trade’ Contreras and Roberston (report)
The Cubs are “sure to trade” impending free agents Willson Contreras and David Roberston, writes MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman in his new column for the New York Post.

Additionally, Heyman writes the Cubs have had extensive trade talks on Ian Happ, with the Blue Jays being named as one of the team’s in on the All-Star outfielder. Happ still has one more year of arbitration left.

July 29: Deal between Mets and Cubs still in preliminary dialogue (report)
Despite being linked in trade talks for the past 24 hours, the Mets and Cubs still had yet to exchange names in a potential deal for Willson Contreras and David Roberston as of last night, tweets SNY’s Andy Martino.

Martino says a reason for stagnation is the Mets are more reluctant to part with prospects, due in large part to the Mets trading 2020 first round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong to the Cubs last year in return for Javier Báez and Trevor Williams.

July 28: Trade talks between Mets and Cubs still in preliminary stage (report)
The Mets and Cubs haven't exchanged "concrete trade proposals" involving catcher Willson Contreras or reliever David Robertson yet, but New York has talked to Chicago about the two stars, and one source said to "keep an eye" on the two clubs over the next 36 hours, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

Contreras and Robertson are both eligible to reach free agency after 2022, so they're likely to be dealt by the rebuilding Cubs prior to Tuesday's Trade Deadline.

July 26: Active Deadline awaits Cubs
A year after initiating their rebuild by trading away Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs once again figure to play a prominent role at the Trade Deadline, due in part to one particular player.

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan in an article for ESPN+ (subscription required), Ian Happ has emerged as one of the more in-demand names on the market and the Cubs are "likely" to trade the All-Star outfielder. The switch-hitter -- who turns 28 in August -- is batting .282/.367/.445 this season. But what surely makes him even more appealing to contenders is that he's under contract through next season.

Passan also calls it an "inevitability" that Chicago trades Willson Contreras, with the Astros and Mets being two teams that have contacted the Cubs about the 30-year-old free agent-to-be. Other clubs could still enter the mix with the primary goal of adding Contreras' bat to their lineup, but Passan said multiple teams have concerns about how quickly he might be able to gel with a new pitching staff on the fly.

David Robertson is another Cub who figures to draw significant interest, and although it's possible that the team could part with him, Happ and Contreras in separate deals, Passan said "the possibility of a package trade is far likelier." Passan notes that some teams have presented offers featuring one of the hitters and either Robertson or Mychal Givens -- and even in some cases both relievers.

July 23: Padres reportedly eyeing Contreras, Happ
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney in an article for ESPN+ (subscription required), rival executives view the Padres as “perhaps the most motivated team in the trade market, with an aggressive all-in mentality.”

San Diego has been mentioned as a possible destination for Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, but he’s far from the only All-Star who’d be a fit with the Friars.

Internally, the club has discussed the idea of a package deal for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and outfielder Ian Happ, reports Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required). Contreras is eligible for free agency after this season, while Happ is controllable through 2023.

The return for both players would likely be less than it will take to acquire Soto (controllable through 2024) alone.

As Lin notes, the Padres also need to consider the payroll resources it will need to address their rotation, with Joe Musgrove, Sean Manaea and Nick Martinez all able to test the open market this offseason. A trade for Soto would presumably be followed by a contract extension that could preclude San Diego from filling out key spots on its pitching staff.

July 18: 4 potential fits for Contreras
On paper, Willson Contreras seems like a perfect fit for the Mets, who have the worst OPS (.504) at the catcher spot in MLB and have struggled to find production at DH as well.

However, Ken Rosenthal doesn’t see New York as a likely suitor for Contreras due to the presence of Francisco Álvarez, the No. 2 prospect in baseball. Álvarez could be a candidate for a callup soon to fill the team’s need for more offense at catcher and DH, Rosenthal noted Monday on FS1.

So if the Mets aren’t in the mix for the 30-year-old impending free agent, who is?

The market is still hazy, but Rosenthal named the Padres, Rays, Guardians and Giants as possible suitors. Here's a look at where each of these clubs stand:

Padres: San Diego has gotten an offensive boost behind the plate from Jorge Alfaro, but fellow catcher Austin Nola has an 83 OPS+ this season, and the Padres rank 17th in MLB in runs per game (4.34). Fernando Tatis Jr.'s eventual return from a fractured left wrist should help the offense, but the club likely needs another bat to compete with the NL powerhouses.

Rays: Despite their myriad of injuries, the Rays finished the first half with a 51-41 record, but they've gotten little offense from the catcher position this season and will be without Mike Zunino until at least mid-August due to a shoulder injury. Tampa Bay acquired Christian Bethancourt in a trade with the A's on July 9, but he's not in the same league as Contreras at the plate.

Guardians: Cleveland catchers have put up a .515 OPS combined this season, including a .497 mark from Austin Hedges.

Giants: 2018 No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart has been better since he returned from the Minors, posting an .896 OPS in 11 games, but he's still striking out a ton. Contreras could help fill the void left by Buster Posey's retirement.