Could Willson Contreras be an option for the San Diego Padres as they look to improve their team for the 2020 season?
The San Diego Padres are not desperate for help at the catcher position.
Austin Hedges, Francisco Mejia, and Luis Torrens all have a certain amount of value. Hedges is known for his defensive ability, while the switch-hitting Mejia provides an offensive force for the Friars when he is in the lineup. Torrens has over a year of major league service time and has a well-rounded aspect to his game. The Padres posses options at the position. There is no debating that fact.
In Chicago, the Cubs are attempting to save money and change gears with their roster.
Speculation is that the team will make significant moves reasonably soon. Chicago is dangling Kris Bryant in trade talks as they desire to restructure their farm system with more talent. Almost every Cubs player has been mentioned in trade talks this winter, and nobody has drawn more interest than the Cubs’ two-time All-Star, catcher Willson Contreras.
The Friars may not need a catching upgrade, but they are certainly entertaining the idea.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports indicated earlier this month that the Padres want Contreras badly, but the asking price is enormous. The Padres are indeed looking to boost their production from the catcher’s position, and they set their sights on the Venezuelan backstop at one time. Naturally, with three years of service time left before free agency, Contreras will be dealt for nothing less than a king’s ransom.
The backstop owns a career .267/.350/.470 batting line with a .821 OPS and a 113 OPS+ in over 1,400 at-bats for the Cubs. The right-handed batter shows a great ability to get on-base, which is something the Padres covet. Contreras recorded a .888 OPS last season and slugged 24 homers. His 3.1 WAR total from 2019 is what Manny Machado produced last season for the Padres. The catcher has a tremendous amount of value attached to his name and is still only 27-years-old. The Cubs will be hard-pressed to trade him.
The Padres have plenty of talent to make the deal and possibly entice the Cubs, so this is something worth monitoring. We all know that A.J. Preller is dedicated, and he will do whatever it takes to build a championship team for the city of San Diego.
There will be a point when all these young prospects who are currently at the Padres’ major league level either sustain their value or fall off the map entirely. Cal Quantrill, David Bednar, Ty France, Michel Baez, Ronald Bolanos, Adrian Morejon, Gerardo Reyes, and Nick Margevicius all debuted in 2020. Not one of them presently has a secured role on the Padres’ 26-man roster. Packaging a few of them alongside younger talent within the Padres system is probably a smart thing to do to upgrade your franchise.
In a recent piece by NBC Chicago, they speculate that the Padres and Cubs are an excellent match in a potential trade. The Cubs want multiple players, and a 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 deal seems the most beneficial for both teams. Factor in the fact the Padres have 40-man issues, and this could be a big help for San Diego. The team currently has a full 40-man and very little room to maneuver. Dealing four players off their roster for an upgrade would be rewarding on several levels.
With only weeks before pitchers and catcher report to Arizona, the sands of the hourglass are running out. The Padres will undoubtedly be aggressive in the coming weeks in their last effort to upgrade the team in a significant way before the start of the 2020 season. Willson Contreras might just be an option when it is all said and done. It will all come down to whether or not the Padres pay the hefty asking price.