The market for the best free agent catcher continues to emerge. NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Whittenmaier reported that Wilson Contreras He received multi-year first offers from the Cardinals and Astros in that week’s Winter Meetings. A third team also submitted a bid, according to Wittenmyer, though the identity of that club is unknown (but reportedly not Boston or Tampa Bay). Derek Gold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes the discussions more informally as the team also deals with trade possibilities but notes that there has been talk of the possibility of a multi-year show.
St. Louis and Houston have both been linked with Contreras several times during the season, but it is still notable that those teams have put proposals on the table. Reporting by John Denton from MLB.com (Twitter link) that the fourth year could be a hurdle in Contreras’ talks with St. Louis. According to Denton, the Cards are ready to meet the asking price for a three-time All-Star on an annual basis, but are reluctant to go beyond the past three seasons. It’s not clear if another team would put a fourth year on the table, though Wittenmyer adds that no team yet is willing to go five years.
St. Louis captain Oliver Marmul confirmed that the Cards would sit out Contreras for the winter meetings. Good I suggested The team’s preferred solution is to have an A-brace Shaun Murphy, though that would require giving up highly regarded young talent—and the A’s are said to be looking for MLB-ready players in return. It’s probably no coincidence that Geoff Johns is Belleville News-Democrat tweet There is a growing sense that the Cardinals could find their new catcher in free agency, and Contreras has been described as the most likely target in this scenario.
The Astros’ interest in Contreras dated back to the trade deadline, but owner Jim Crane refused an agreed-upon trade that would have brought him from Chicago. They seem less concerned about him fitting into a new staff with offseason preparation than if he was added in the midst of a pennant race, and the multi-year proposals on the table reflect that. Houston has Martin Maldonado As a higher reliever nowadays, Contreras is expected to rotate between catcher, left field, and designated hitter if they strike a deal.
At the end of the season, the 30-year-old turned down a qualifying offer from the Cubs. It would cost any team to sign at least one draft, while the Cubs would receive compensation in the event of his highly likely departure. MLBTR projected a four-year, $84 million contract for Contreras at the start of the season.