MLB Rumors: Willson Contreras Being Courted By AL Contender

At the trade deadline back in August, the Chicago Cubs had an agreement on a deal to send 3-time All-Star backstop, and free agent-to-be, Willson Contreras to the Houston Astros for pitcher Jose Urquidy. But 'Stros owner Jim Crane stepped in, at the urging of manager Dusty Baker, and put the kibosh on the deal. 

But here they are again, courting Contreras in free agency, as per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. 

"The Astros are in discussions with free agent Willson Contreras and plan to meet with him at the winter meetings, according to a source briefed on the situation," says Rosenthal.

So why the change of heart? Simple. Bringing in a catcher midseason whose strength isn't known to be working with pitchers could upset the apple cart and throw some of the hurlers off their game. That wasn't a chance that Baker (or Crane) wanted to take. 

But having him come in for a full spring training and work with the pitching staff for a month would give everyone a chance to get acclimated, and allow the Astros to add another potent bat to their lineup.

The thing that Contreras may not like hearing when he meets with them, is that, according to Rosenthal, the Astros may have plans to use the catcher in a sort of super-utility role, playing in left field, DH and behind the plate. 

We'll have to wait and see how he responds to that possibility.

 David Banks-USA TODAY Sports