Without Astros, 1 team stands apart in Willson Contreras trade talks

With the Astros removing themselves from the Willson Contreras trade talks, a new team emerges.

Willson Contreras is going to be wearing a different uniform come August this season. The longtime Chicago Cubs catcher has been one of the likeliest trade candidates for the past two seasons now and 2022 is going to be the year. A free agent to be, Contreras has an extensive list of potential suitors that he could help as a veteran rental down the stretch.

With the Cubs performing poorly to start the year as expected, another (smaller) fire sale is in the team’s near future. Last year, they unloaded Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Joc Pederson and Ryan Tepera to name a few, breaking the hearts of your everyday Cubs faithful.

This year, while there is significantly less superstars on the team, Contreras stands alone as the last veteran of the 2016 World Series victory the Cubs managed over the Cleveland Indians.

On Monday, it was reported that the Houston Astros are not likely to seriously pursue Contreras as they are content with one of the game’s best defensive catchers in Martín Maldonado continuing to get everyday playing time for the club.

MLB rumors: Could Giants swoop in on Willson Contreras?

An interesting team that has seemingly entered the Contreras rumor mill is the San Francisco Giants. Playing in one of the toughest divisions in the majors in the NL West, the Giants are 33-26 entering today but find themselves 3.5 games back of the Dodgers and 3.0 games behind the second place Padres.

The Giants current catching situation is not pretty. With Buster Posey retiring, prized prospect Joey Bart was slated to finally get his shot at everyday at-bats at the big league level. In tough fashion, Bart struggled immensely out of the gate for the club. The 25-year-old backstop managed just 14 hits and seven RBI in 36 games and 108 plate appearances for the big league club, good for a .156 batting average and 70 OPS+.

With Bart temporarily out of the big league catching situation, the aging veteran Curt Casali is in line to receive more playing time but he has never in his nine-year career played over 84 games and is more valued for his defensive abilities than his bat as he owns a career .226 batting average.

Behind Casali there is light-hitting journeyman Austin Wynns who also does not offer a ton of value. He is okay on defense but can’t hit to save his life. An addition of Contreras would help this Giants club immensely as it would push Casali back to backup duties and give the Giants one hell of a catcher to replace Buster Posey and keep the seat warm for Joey Bart upon his return.