The Los Angeles Angels are interested in Willson Contreras, and here’s how they can shape a deal to get him.
The Chicago Cubs are open for business, and a report late last month suggested catcher Willson Contreras was being shopped. Team president Jed Hoyer denied that, but it’s safe to say offers aren’t going to be spurned. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), the Los Angeles Angels are showing interest in trading for Contreras.
Angels manager Joe Maddon was of course the Cubs manager when Contreras arrived in the big leagues in 2016, through the 2019 season. Per Rosenthal (h/t to Bleacher Nation), Maddon was (and presumably remains) a strong advocate for the two-time All-Star.
“Angels manager Joe Maddon was a strong advocate for Willson Contreras during their time together with the Cubs, so perhaps it’s no surprise the Angels are showing interest in trading for the catcher, according to major-league sources.”
The Angels also have a question mark behind the plate. Max Stassi may miss the start of the season recovering from surgery on his left hip, and Anthony Bemboom is not an established regular. Stassi had a stellar .886 OPS last year (1.024 against left-handers), but with a career OPS of just .611 before that’s an easy small sample outlier.
So what might a deal for Willson Contreras look like?
The Angels don’t have a stellar farm system (No. 21-ranked by MLB.com at the mid-point of last season). Take away Jo Adell, who made his major league debut last season, and they have two top-100 prospects (Brandon Marsh, Reid Detmers). Rosenthal mentioned outfielder Jordyn Adams, infielder Jeremiah Jackson and shortstop Kyren Paris, the Angels No. 3-5 prospects as ranked by MLB.com.
Contreras will hit free agency after the 2022 season, and arbitration projections line him up to make around $15 million over the next two seasons. So the Cubs will ask for at least one of Marsh and Detmers, with one of Adams, Jackson and Paris included. But the Angels are in win-now mode, so the price to get Contreras should be a price they’re willing to pay.