Free agency starting in a few days, and Wilson Contreras The available top support will be undisputed. The career-enduring Cub is sure to receive and turn down a qualifying offer from Chicago while their representatives set out for the Octagon in search of a solid multi-year deal.
While the clubs cannot officially begin discussing contract terms with the agents of the other free-to-air teams until Thursday, there is no doubt that they have identified important players as the off-season kicks off. A few teams outside of Chicago have already loosely appeared in the Contreras Market. John Morosi of MLB.com chirp This morning the Tigers are interested in the three-time All-Star, while New York Post’s John Heyman (Twitter linkHe hears the Astros are considering hunting down a free agent.
It’s easy to see the link either way. Detroit first-year baseball chief operating officer Scott Harris, who worked in the Cubs front office until the end of the 2019 season, is led by Harris’ familiarity with Contreras not in and of itself giving Detroit much of a head start in free agency, but there is a clear opportunity for them to follow through on getting help. see Detroit Tucker Barnhart Hit a free agency, and it seems unlikely that he’ll be back after a tough year. Eric Haas It has good power and could be an instant pick-me-up option after hitting .254/.305/.443 in 110 games, but it isn’t highly rated defensively and might be a better fit for increased left-field action and/or a designated hitter.
Harris declined to comment on Contreras specifically when speaking with reporters at GM meetings this evening (via Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press). However, he seemed broadly open to the idea of adding attractive help from outside the organization. Harris noted some potential in-house talent – presumably primarily in reference to the previous second-round selection Dillon Dingler Until the eleventh year of 2021 Josh Crouch — but downplay the possibility that anyone from the system would take this job for 2023. Neither Dingler nor Crouch need to be added to the 40-man list this winter, neither of which has made it to Triple-A. Whether Detroit should be willing to give up a draft option to a qualified free agent in the wake of a 66-win season is fair to ask, but it seems likely that the Tigers will deal with the catcher in some form over the coming months.
The Astros’ interest in Contreras goes back to at least last summer. The front office arranged a deal that would send Jose Urquidi To Cubs for Contreras on the deadline, but Houston owner Jim Crane smashed it. Houston turned to Earth Christian Vasquez From the Red Sox instead, but he’s now the #2 booster behind Contreras in free agency. A Vazquez reunion seems unlikely after he’s seen off playing time Martin Maldonado down the extension. Maldonado’s presence may be an obstacle to Contreras’ pursuit as well, given the champions’ long affinity with the defensive specialist, but Contreras may be a notable offensive upgrade, with the team willing to consider reducing Maldonado’s playing time to add a racket effect. .
Certainly, interest in Contreras will extend well beyond two teams. High-profile executives with the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Red Sox have already made a record of being open to adding behind the board. Katie Wu from Athletic Tweets The Cardinals consider the catcher their number one priority, with Chief of Baseball Operations John Mozillac open to both free agent and trade possibilities. The Cardinal has always prioritized the defense of the elite behind the plate Molina runsperhaps makes an odd fit for a first bat player like Contreras, but Woo conveys that St. Louis is not only looking for strong defenses but prioritizing overall impact from the center.
On the other hand, the Red Sox may have more to fear from Contreras’ mixed reputation as a game communicator. Alex Speer of The Boston Globe He writes that Boston is unlikely to take a serious tour of supporting the 30-year-old because she is so focused on managing the staff. Concerns about Contreras’s playing acumen on the deadline have been mentioned as well, and may have played a role in the Cubs not finding a show that inspired them to give up despite being out of competition in the playoff. Speier notes that the Red Sox have had a long-standing interest in the A.B. Sean Murphy – who will be a frequent business target again this winter – and reports they previously checked in on the Padres Austin Nola.
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