Willson Contreras Trade Rumors: Are Mets a Fit?

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Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras heads back to the dugout in a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday, July 25, 2022, in Chicago.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Jul 27, 2022, 5:44 PM

Tuesday night was likely Willson Contreras’ last home game at Wrigley Field, and it was clear he knew it. Arguably the hottest trade chip on a stacked list of Chicago Cubs players up for sale before the MLB Trade Deadline, Contreras embraced teammate Ian Happ after the game, both emotional at the near certainty they could be on different teams come August 2.

Contreras has been an integral part of the Cubs roster this season, batting .258 with an OPS of .843 and backing it up with incredible catching skills behind the plate. He’s hit 14 home runs and 37 RBI, and even though it wasn’t enough to keep Chicago in contention for the baseball playoffs, his trade value is the highest it has ever been. 

The clear frontrunner to trade for Contreras is the New York Mets. ​​The Mets have needed a strong player behind the plate for a while, and Contreras fits the bill perfectly. 

So why does he seem so unhappy about the prospect of being traded?

On the surface, moving to the Mets is great for Contreras from every angle. With a distinct lack of direction from the front office, watching the Cubs play is often an exhausting experience for even the most dedicated fan, while the Mets are currently leading the NL East with a record of 66-32. Should he be looking to sign an extension after this season, Contreras will likely make more money in New York than he ever would in Chicago, with the added bonus of the opportunity to compete in the postseason.

But alas, the heart wants what it wants, and apparently, it wants the Chicago Cubs.

Contreras is only 30, but he’s already won a World Series and been voted as a starter in the MLB All-Star Game three times. In 2022, he even got to start in the Mid-Summer Classic alongside his brother, Braves catcher William Contreras. The man has ticked off more bucket list items than most baseball players ever get to, and now it seems his guiding light is less about achieving personal career milestones and more about enjoying the journey.

After almost six years in the organization, Contreras loves Chicago, and Chicago fans love Contreras. Regardless, the Cubs are deep in a rebuilding phase and need prospects to contend in future seasons — they’d be crazy not to move their hottest trade chips while their value is high.

So with Contreras’ fate essentially sealed, where could the All-Star catcher land?

New York Mets

With top-catching prospect Francisco Alvarez in their farm system, the Mets don’t need a catcher under team control for long. Alvarez just got promoted to Triple-A and is unlikely to be called up before next season, so a catcher just to get them through the end of the season is fine for New York’s needs.

Enter, Willson Contreras.

Contreras is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, so unless the Mets want to fork out one hell of an expensive contract extension (which is admittedly not off the table), he is the definition of a top-tier rental player. Having said that, he’s unlikely to come cheap. The Mets will probably have to break the bank a bit to get him with a package including at least one top prospect like shortstop Ronny Mauricio or pitcher José Butto.

Other Potential Willson Contreras Trade Destinations

As stated above, the Mets are the clear frontrunners to sign Contreras, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other clubs sniffing around. 

With catcher Mike Zunino out for the rest of the season due to surgery-requiring thoracic outlet syndrome, the Tampa Bay Rays need a man behind the plate. The Rays are 52-45 on the season, ranking third in the extremely competitive AL East, so with a Wild Card spot within their reach, Contreras would be a great addition to the roster.

The Houston Astros are also in need of a catcher. The Astros are having a very nice season, leading the AL West with a record of 64-34, but a catcher with a strong bat certainly wouldn’t go astray.

Another team to watch is the Cleveland Guardians, who have had Austin Hedges and Luke Maile sharing duties behind the plate up until now with rather limited success. They need a permanent catcher to fill a gaping hole on their roster — yet another fit for Contreras.

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.