Sunday, March 26Welcome

Can the Cubs and Astros swap catchers in MLB free agency?

The Astros had discussions with Wilson Contreras this week, and the Cubs reportedly discussed Cristian Vazquez earlier in the offseason.

And on Thursday, another national writer explored the intriguing possibility that the top two free-agent catchers this offseason could switch teams.

USA Today’s Bob Nightingale said the Cubs’ interest in Vazquez was “strong,” adding that the Astros had early talks with Contreras.

Continue athletic Ken Rosenthal reported this week that Houston is in talks with Contreras and will meet with him at the Winter Meetings next week.

Related: Why Wilson Contreras’ Free Agency Looks Like a Waiting Game

Related: Cubs catcher target at Contreras after free agency

athletic Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma reported on an internal Cubs discussion about Vazquez last month.

The 32-year-old is a quality defender, batting near league averages since spending most of his time behind the plate with the Red Sox in 2019.

He debuted with the Red Sox and was teammates with Cubs manager David Ross in 2014. Boston traded him to Houston after Astros ownership canceled Contreras’ contract with the Cubs this summer.

The Cubs currently have Yann Gomez and PJ Higgins on their catch depth chart. Prospect Miguel Amaya, who has been plagued with injuries in recent seasons, is also on the 40-man roster.

Team principal Jed Hoyer was asked how the Cubs view catching positions after Contreras turned down a qualifying offer last month.

“It’s a two-way street,” Hoyer said at the GM meeting. “It’s natural to want a player who can hit, but it’s a position to prevent runs.

“A lot of it is the ‘we’ thing that we feel strongly about in calling the game, preparing it, pitching everything it does. It’s about teamwork and that collaboration.” “

Rosenthal reported an interesting aspect of the Astros’ pursuit of Contreras. With the Astros having a strong defender in Martin Maldonado, Contreras, a three-time All-Star catcher, could play elsewhere with Houston.

This could obviously include a designated hitter, and Contreras has made 39 of 111 starts for the Cubs in 2022.

Although Contreras has spent most of his career at bat, he was a third baseman in his first few minor league seasons. He played outfield for the Cubs in 2016, where he primarily played as a rookie.

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