Astros have been linked to Josh Bell Several times in recent days, but the Nationals’ first baseman isn’t the only hired bat on Houston’s radar. ESPN’s Jeff Bassan reports that the Astros have been in contact with the cubs around the catcher Wilson Contreras.
More broadly, Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning that Houston is looking at ways to add to the fishing team ahead of next Tuesday’s trading deadline. The Astros were without a veteran backup Jason Castro For about a month, manager Dusty Baker indicated over the weekend that Castro wasn’t progressing as he had hoped (Via field team reporter Julia Morales). This made the club rely on the novice Corey Lee To make a backup Martin Maldonado. Lee is one of the top prospects in the Houston farm system, but this year he struggled in his first long crack at Triple-A.
Of course, there are myriad ways a front office in Houston can address the capturing group. If they are committed to keeping Maldonado as the base stand, then the veteran’s depth option is in Tucker Barnhart Mold can be enough. Tiger Tiger will certainly be open to the impending free agent transfer to get the minimum potential return.
Contreras, on the other hand, will require bringing great talents back to Chicago. It’s a default lock for a uniform change over the next week. Since the MLB and the Players’ Association have not agreed to an international draft, the qualifying bid scheme for free agents is set to remain in place. The Cubs could theoretically keep the Contreras and retrieve the draft pick once it was signed elsewhere next winter, but they are very likely to get a more valuable return by trade.
Maldonado, who started 70 of Houston’s 97 games behind the board, is well liked at the club for his management of the stadium staff. He was never a good hitter, however, his 0.237 on base is the fifth lowest mark among 260 hitters with over 200 plate appearances per season. Maldonado has also been rated as an below average player and overall defender in the eyes of public standards this season. The Astros clearly think it brings massive intangible value, but there is room on paper to upgrade.
Of course, if the Astros wanted to keep Maldonado behind the board, they could make way for Contreras’ racket in other positions. The cubs brace has long been considered the number one bat catcher. He’s made strides from a field-framing perspective in recent seasons, improving from one of the league’s best draftsmen to nearly average in that regard. Bassan notes, however, that some contenders have expressed concern about Contreras’ ability to quickly run a new show team — something unusual for anglers dealt in the middle of the season. Contreras is a talented enough hitter from an earning team that he could hook him up more frequently in first base and/or designated hitter than the last few months of the season while still raising their offensive level.
Houston has Jordan Alvarez In DH, though, he saw choppy time in left field as well. The most obvious path to offensive upgrade is at first base, where Yuli Gouriel His .234/.287/.384 season streak is disappointing. Bell would be a more straightforward replacement for Gurriel, but it’s not unthinkable that teams would look at Contreras—the owner of a career-best .258/.373/.470 slash—as an option to rotate between DH, first base and catcher rather than working as a full-time assistant.
The Astros aren’t the only team in touch with the Cubs regarding Contreras, of course. The Mets have been tied to him for a few weeks, and Passan and Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated suggest he’s still a viable target for New Yorkers. Ragazzo reports that New York and the Cubs have closely discussed trade frameworks involving Contreras and Cubs David Robertson In a package deal that would send many potential clients to Chicago. Ragazzo adds that Francis Alvarez And the Britt Patty The two biggest odds in the system in the latest 100 American baseball games will be off the table. The only other factor in the Mets ranch that made it into the top 100 is the defensive player Alex Ramirezbut players love Alan diedAnd the Ronnie Morris And the Mark Winds It was in the latest mix of the top 100 diverse potential outlets.