The list of teams with interest in Willson Contreras has narrowed slightly in the last few days, particularly with the Astros trading for Christian Vazquez. The Padres now appear to be viewing the NL All-Star catcher as a fallback if they’re not able to land Juan Soto, and many believe San Diego is the most likely landing spot in that sweepstakes. As Ken Rosenthal tweeted, the Rays and Mets may be the two teams most strongly in the mix for Contreras.
Rays in mix along with Mets for Cubs’ Willson Contreras, sources tell @TheAthletic. Possible fallback for Padres, too, if SD does not land Soto.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 2, 2022
Previous reports have had the Rays on the hunt for catching help and we’ve known for a long time that the Mets covet Contreras as an upgrade behind the plate. However, there’s been a lot of chatter about the Mets being either unwilling to meet the Cubs’ price or simply being a little tentative when it comes to dealing with a team that pried Pete Crow-Armstrong free last year.
At the same time, there’s a fear that dealing with the Rays is asking to be hoodwinked. With the market getting slimmer and the Cubs potentially losing leverage if San Diego — which has often been mentioned in possible blockbusters with Chicago — goes in a different direction, Jed Hoyer might be pressed into making a move for a lower return than initially thought.
As with all the other rumors, the eventual reality may end up looking far different. Only a few hours to go before we find out.