The Houston Astros were so close to acquiring catcher Willson Contreras from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline last season, but the transaction ultimately did not push through, in part because of Astros manager Dusty Baker’s contrarian stance.
But Baker is singing a different tune now, it seems. Fresh off his successful steering of the Astros to a World Series win, Baker appears to be much more committed to the idea of Contreras becoming an Astro (h/t Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago).
“Just maybe a postponement, who knows?” said Astros manager Dusty Baker, who on Monday downplayed his recent comments about why he helped nix a trade for Contreras at the deadline — and expressed interest in the three-time All-Star catcher now.
“Going forward, yeah, we’re going to talk to him. And we have interest in him,” Baker said. “And if the numbers are right and the years are right and the situation’s right, and right for both of us. … And if not, then we’ve still got some catching depth.”
There is plenty of interest in Willson Contreras this offseason. After all, he is coming off an All-Star campaign with the Cubs, slashing .243/.349/.466 in 113 games in Chicago threads in 2022. He also hit 22 home runs and drove 55 runs last season. Moreover, his 128 OPS+ is the highest he’s had in a season, so far in his MLB career that started in 2016.
The Astros’ current view of Contreras isn’t entirely clear but based on Baker’s recent comments, Houston might be keeping a close eye on the 30-year-old catcher.