The Chicago Cubs are effectively set to complete their teardown of the World Series core at the trade deadline. One of the last remaining key contributors is likely to be dealt and could be a fit for the SF Giants.
Ken Rosenthal: Chicago Cubs star would "make particular sense" for the SF Giants
Ken Rosenthal of The Atheltic (subscription required) threw cold water onto the idea of the Houston Astros being a trade partner for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. However, he did indicate that the 30-year-old catcher would "make particular sense" for the Giants.
On paper, this looks like a viable option for the Giants. After all, Joey Bart was recently optioned after slashing .156/.296/.300 (70 OPS+) with four homers, seven RBI, 12 runs, and 49 strikeouts in 108 plate appearances.
The remaining catchers on the 40-man roster include Curt Casali, Michael Papierski, and Austin Wynns. Papierski and Wynns were acquired within the last six weeks, whereas Casali's career-high in games played is 84.
Plus, the veteran backstop appears to be dealing with a hamstring strain that he is prepared to play through
As a unit, Giants catchers have combined to post a .195/.298/.338 line (87 wRC+) with eight home runs and 20 RBI. This level of production is near the middle of the pack.
This is all to say that the Giants have very little predictability at a position that can significantly impact the game. It is no surprise to see San Francisco as a potential fit for Contreras.
The two-time NL All-Star will likely earn his third nod next month as he is slashing .267/.394/.506 (152 OPS) with 10 home runs, 23 RBI, and 35 runs. This would immediately upgrade a position that has struggled for much of the season.
At this point, the question is not whether there is a fit for the Giants and Contreras. The question is whether San Francisco will be in the market to acquire a player of that caliber. They currently sit at 33-26, which is good enough for third place in a tough NL West division.
The playoffs have been expanded to six teams in 2022 and the Giants are very much in the playoff picture. When the Giants traded for Kris Bryant at the deadline last season, they were at the front of the race. Contextually, it was a different move.
They are not the leader of the pack this time around. The 2022 roster is not performing on that level, but they are proving to be a tough team to beat. The Bryant trade added to an already strong lineup, whereas Contreras would quickly bolster a major weakness.
In terms of prospect capital, a Caleb Kilian and Alexander Canario package may be a comparable template. For the time being, the Giants have roughly seven weeks to figure out exactly what type of team they are and where they need to make improvements.