The Angels have a clear need at catcher, unless they want to bet on Max Stassi’s outlier offensive season in 2020 (.286, .886 OPS) repeating next year. A top-heavy payroll isn’t helpful to making any major moves this offseason, but another $6 million or so committed to Contreras for 2021 is not a significant difference. Albert Pujols’ contract finally ends after next season, so a trade for Contreras could be backed up by an eventual multi-year deal. He can DH some in the American League regardless of a possible universal DH rule, and his bat should play into his 30s.
The Angels have to be done wasting Mike Trout’s prime, once and for all, and new general manager Pierre Minasian has to have some moves on his radar as payroll starts to free up over the next couple years. If the Cubs simply want to offload Contreras as he approaches more money in arbitration and eventually free agency after 2022, the Angels not having a top-end farm system may not be a detriment to them getting him.
The options beyond Realmuto aren’t great at catcher, via trade or free agency, and the Angels aren’t going there on Realmuto. Contreras being available is practically a godsend for the Angels, and they need to get it done with the Cubs.