1 perfect MLB trade deadline deal to make the Astros World Series favorites
The Houston Astros are once again among the teams leading the pack in the MLB this season. They currently have a 67-36 record, which is the second best in the American League and third best in the majors. They have a comfortable 12 game lead atop the AL West, and are going to be competing with the New York Yankees for the top seed in the AL throughout the final two months of the season.
The Astros are undoubtedly among the favorites to win it all in 2022, and for good reason. But it feels like they may be a step behind the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, the two teams with better records than them right now. As a a result, they have been pursuing a couple of different trades in the buildup to the 2022 MLB trade deadline.
As good as the Astros are, they have some clear needs heading into the deadline. But there’s one move they could make at the deadline that would push them over the top and make them a de facto World Series favorite. Let’s take a closer look at what that move would be for Houston as the deadline nears.
The perfect deadline deal for the Houston Astros: Trading for Willson Contreras
Houston has remained among the top teams in the MLB due to their ability to keep on finding solid hitters to fill out their lineup. Not many teams would be able to overcome the losses of George Springer and Carlos Correa in back-to-back offseasons, but the Astros have made replacing those two stars look almost effortless.
Finding hitters like Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Pena has allowed the Astros to keep on winning. They have plugged holes on their roster with great ability, and that’s what has helped make them a sustained winner. The one area they haven’t been able to solve, however, has been the catcher position.
Martin Maldonado has reprised his role as Houston’s starting catcher this season, despite his inability to hit. Maldonado has 10 home runs and 30 RBIs on the season, but he’s hitting .173, which is paltry. For what it’s worth, Maldonado’s .173 average is a single point better than his .172 average from the 2021 season.
Maldonado has kept his spot in the lineup due to his defensive abilities. He’s great behind the dish for the ‘Stros, and he calls good games for his pitchers as well. It’s a trade off that has worked for Houston so far, but it isn’t going to help them win a World Series.
Enter Willson Contreras, the Chicago Cubs star catcher who will be available at the trade deadline. Contreras is set to be one of the top hitters available at the deadline, and he also plays a position Houston needs a lot of help at. The Astros are looking to add help to their lineup, and Contreras should probably be one of their top targets at the deadline.
On the season, Contreras is hitting .252 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs. That’s a marked improvement from Maldonado’s horrid numbers from earlier. Contreras’ production helped him earn the third All-Star selection of his career this season, showcasing that he’s still among the best players at his position, even while playing on a Cubs team that is gearing up for a lengthy rebuild.
Adding Contreras would be a move that could help put Houston over the top. His bat could fit seamlessly into an already dangerous Astros lineup, giving them another hitter who can do damage wherever he may find himself. Contreras would be a bit of a step down from Maldonado in terms of defense, but that’s a trade off Houston would have to be willing to take at this point.
The big question remains whether Houston would be willing to conjur up a trade package that would allow them to land Contreras. Contreras is only 30 years old, meaning he still likely has some good seasons ahead of him. He is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, which could be off putting for the Astros.
Ultimately, though, this is a deal that Houston would be foolish to not make. Contreras is one of the best catchers in the game, and the Astros have gotten by this season without virtually any production from the catcher production.
Houston has reportedly balked at the price tags for guys like Contreras and Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell (another guy who could put the ‘Stros over the top), but if they want to win a World Series, they are going to have to make some big moves. Adding Willson Contreras would make Houston a World Series favorite considering it would add another strong bat to their lineup, while filling a position of need at the same time. In terms of perfect moves, it wouldn’t get much better than that.