The market for the best free agent receiver continues to appear. Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago reports that willson contreras has received preliminary multi-year offers from both the Cardinals and Astros at the Winter Meetings this week. A third team also submitted a bid, according to Wittenmyer, though the identity of that club is unknown (but said not to be Boston or Tampa Bay). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch characterizes the discussions more casually, as the team is also juggling business possibilities, but notes that the possibility of a multi-year deal has been talked about.
Both St. Louis and Houston have been tied to Contreras numerous times this offseason, but it’s still notable that those teams have put proposals on the table. MLB.com’s John Denton reports (Twitter link) that a fourth year could be a hurdle in Contreras’s talks with St. Louis. According to Denton, the Cardinals are prepared to meet the three-time All-Star’s annual asking price, but are reluctant to go through three seasons. It’s unclear if another team is putting a fourth year on the table, though Wittenmyer adds that no team so far has been willing to play five years.
St. Louis boss Oliver Marmol confirmed reports that the Cardinals would sit with Contreras at the Winter Meetings. goold has He suggested the team’s preferred solution is to acquire the backing of A sean murphy, though that would require handing over highly regarded young talent, and the A’s are reportedly looking for MLB-ready players in return. It is perhaps no coincidence that Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat tweets there’s a growing sense that the Cards could find their new receiver in free agency, and he characterizes Contreras as the most likely target in that scenario.
The Astros’ interest in Contreras dates back to the trade deadline, but owner Jim Crane turned down an agreed trade that would have brought him out of Chicago. It seems they’re less worried about him acclimating to a new pitching staff with an offseason to prepare for than they would be if they added him in the middle of a pennant race, and the multiyear proposals on the table reflect that. houston has martin maldonado as his main backup at the moment, and Contreras would be expected to rotate between catcher, left field and designated hitter if they reach a deal.
Late in the season, the 30-year-old turned down a qualifying offer from the Cubs. He would cost any signing team at least one draft pick, while the Cubs will receive draft compensation in the very likely event he leaves. MLBTR forecast a four-year, $84 million contract for Contreras at the start of the offseason.