The Houston Astros look to be finalists to acquire the top catcher on the MLB free agency market and have already made a preliminary offer.
The current MLB free agent class is one of the best the industry has seen in quite some time. When the market opened last month, the 2022 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winners — Aaron Judge and Justin Verlander — were available, plus All-Star aces Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon.
Furthermore, the shortstop market has four former or current All-Stars up for grabs. However, despite the deep roster of talent in the market, the catcher position has only one real game-changer talent in Willson Contreras.
Related: MLB free agent tracker – Taillon, Walker latest pitchers off the market
The Chicago Cubs star has garnered notable interest over the last month, and that includes from the Houston Astros. The player and team were linked in recent weeks, and it seems that things have picked up from interest to actual contract negotiations in recent days.
Houston Astros competing with Cardinals and mystery team for Willson Contreras in MLB free agency
On Tuesday night, NBC Sports Chicago beat writer Gordon Wittenmeyer reported that the chase for Contreras looks to be a three-horse race heading into the final days of the Winter Meetings.
“The market for Cubs free agent Willson Contreras has heated up enough this week at the Winter Meetings that the All-Star catcher has received multiyear, preliminary offers from three teams, including the Cardinals and Astros, multiple sources said Tuesday.”– Report on Astros purusit of Contreras
- Willson Contreras stats (2022): .243 AVG, .349 OBP, .466 SLG, 22 HR, 55 RBI, 65 R
In his report, Wittenmeyer notes that all three teams are also involved in the chase for a trade with Oakland Athletics for star catcher Sean Murphy. When that trade goes down, the losers in the pursuit are expected to shift focus completely to Contreras. None of the preliminary offers are believed to be for more than four years.
Houston Astros managers Dusty Baker and members of the front office met with Contreras and his representatives on Monday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. The 2022 World Series champions made a splash in the market last week when they signed slugger Jose Abreu.