One of the interesting upcoming MLB free agents is Willson Contreras, and multiple teams are monitoring the Venezuelan baseball player.
At least two teams have been linked to the 30-year-old catcher, who has so far played only for the Chicago Cubs since joining the MLB in 2016. One of them is the San Diego Padres, ESPN reported, and the other is reportedly the Tampa Bay Rays.
For the Padres, they already have an amiable core of catchers, raising questions about why they would want to add the three-time All-Star to the fold.
San Diego’s catchers are hitting .258/.311/.366 this season, which is better than the .225/.294/.364 positional average. Despite this, the Padres have been struggling on offense so adding someone like Contreras could help.
The Padres could get some offensive help at multiple positions, particularly the outfield. Their bullpen could also use new blood, especially with Taylor Rogers being removed from the closer role.
Further, Contreras is not the only one the Padres are considering. They are also taking a look at Ian Happ, The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported.
Contreras and Happ are seen as alternatives, with the Padres likely to have trouble pursuing another coveted but costly target in Juan Soto.
The Washington Nationals said they have no plans of trading Soto before the Aug. 2 deadline. For San Diego, they may not have enough assets to pull a trade for the 2019 World Series champion, a reason why attention has shifted to Contreras and Happ.
For the Rays, catcher Mike Zunino is in the final year of his contract, and there is no guarantee he will return. Further, he was taken out of the season due to thoracic outlet syndrome, the cause of the discomfort in his left arm.
Robert Murray of Fansided claimed that Tampa Bay has an interest in Contreras. However, succeeding in acquiring the Venezuelan player will still depend on whether or not the Rays can meet the asking price of the Cubs.