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The probability of Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras being moved prior to the Aug. 2 deadline remains high, however the three-time All-Star may need to play another position for a fresh club.
Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “multiple teams” are worried about Contreras’ capability to mesh with a fresh pitching staff down the stretch this year if he gets traded.
Since making his big league debut in 2016, Contreras has been among the best offensive catchers in baseball. He ranks fourth at the positioning in FanGraphs WAR throughout that span (minimum 2,000 plate appearances).
Contreras ranks third in on-base percentage (.352) and slugging percentage (.460) among catchers in the last seven seasons. He could be among five catchers with at the very least 100 homers because the start of 2016.
Defense behind the plate has been another story for Contreras. Passan noted the 30-year-old is “as yet not known for his game-calling acumen” as a catcher. He ranks 41st out of 60 qualified catchers in called-strike rate (45.8 percent), per Baseball Savant.
The Cubs have acknowledged Contreras’ defensive limitations in line with the near equal split of starts he’s got made at catcher (22) and designated hitter (18) in 40 games since June 1.
In accordance with Passan, the brand new York Mets and Houston Astros are on the list of playoff contenders to call the Cubs about Contreras.
The Mets are tied for fifth among all teams in FanGraphs defensive value from the catching position this year (12.7). The Astros rank 22nd for the reason that category (3.5).
The principal selling point of Contreras as a trade option for postseason contenders is his bat. Offense is down across MLB this year, with catchers particularly struggling to create a direct effect. Only 10 teams have a collective on-base percentage over .300 from their backstops in 2022.
Contreras won’t cost much with regards to salary for interested teams. He could be only making $9.625 million this year and you will be qualified to receive free agency by the end of the entire year.
The Cubs (39-57) have every reason to go Contreras before the Aug. 2 trade deadline and obtain back whatever package of prospects they are able to reach build for future years.