The Cubs are moving forward with new manager David Ross, but despite the former Chicago catcher's presence in the clubhouse, the North Siders may be moving forward at backstop.
Reports suggest Willson Contreras is on the trade market, and the 27-year-old Venezuelan catcher would be an upgrade for several contenders, or teams looking to make a jump in 2020. Look no further than the Houston Astros, who despite being marred in controversy due to the sign-stealing scandal currently taking over the headlines, are in need of an upgrade at Contreras' position.
Willson Contreras Contract
Contreras' contract runs through the end of next season, meaning any significant collateral given up by the Astros would likely have to come with a promise from the two-time All-Star that he plans on staying in Houston long-term. Currently, he's schedule to make a respectable $4.5 million next season, per Spotrac.
With Yasmani Grandal signing with the Cubs' rival, Contreras is now the best catcher on the open market. This means the price will be quite high to tear him from the Cubs' grasp. Thankfully for Houston, their farm system includes some familiar names Chicago would be interested in.
Houston has long avoided dealing top prospect Forrest Whitley, who also ranks as the No. 16 farmhand in all of baseball, but to receive a catcher of Contreras' quality, the negotiations would likely start here.
The Cubs could very well hang up the phone if Whitley isn't included, but for the sake of this conversation let's say Chicago is willing to listen. Behind Whitley, Houston's next-best pitching prospect is Bryan Abreu, and paired with No. 5 prospect Abraham Toro, would be a tough trade for the Cubs to turn down.
Either way, there is surely a path for these two teams to make a groundbreaking deal. Houston acquires one of the best catcher in the game, and the Cubs save money while building up a beleaguered farm system which currently ranks near the bottom of the league.