Astros Rumors: How Serious is the Willson Contreras Noise?

Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Astros appear heavily interested in Cubs' catcher Willson Contreras

Rumors have floated throughout Winter Meetings that the Houston Astros are in on various catchers. Martin Maldonado is under contract next season, but it is unknown who will be splitting time with him, or even unseating him.

If it is Sean Murphy, my guess is the 2021 Gold Glover would take the lion's share of the starts behind home plate.

But the name with the loudest noise remains Willson Contreras. And where there's smoke, there may just be a fire. Astros' manager Dusty Baker came right out and said it when addressing the media at Winter Meetings:

""We’re going to talk to him, and we have interest in him. If the numbers are right, the years are right and the situation is right, then it’s right for both of us. If not, we still have some catching depth.”"

Dusty Baker

No element of surprise needed here. According to Dusty, if the numbers are right for Houston, it may just be a deal.

While Murphy brings a solid bat and an elite glove, Contreras' appeal is in his bat. He carries an .808 career OPS and his statcast metrics have more red than a Christmas tree this time of year, finishing in the 94th percentile in xwOBA, 90th in hard hit rate and 85th in xSLG.

It's no secret by know the Astros had a deal in place for Contreras at the deadline that was nixed by Baker and Owner Jim Crane. Baker touched on this as well:

""It’s not that I didn’t want him, at the time, I didn’t think it was the proper fit with two months to go in the season. You have to learn the pitching staff, how we go about doing things. I didn’t feel there was enough time to do that""

Dusty Baker

This is rather interesting as the Astros landed another catcher in his place in Christian Vasquez. Vasquez managed to learn the staff well enough to catch a no-no in the World Series.

There has been some discussion amongst fans of Contreras coming in primarily to DH and to spell Maldy on days off. Interestingly enough, Baker also touched on the DH spot after saying he hoped Yordan would play left field "65 to 70 percent of the time."

Is there a world where Contreras comes to Houston but is instead the primary catcher and Uncle Mike is back as the DH? Or is this much ado about nothing as Dusty can't reveal what they are working on?

Either way, Contreras' massive bat would play well in this lineup and this ballpark. Be it Murphy, Contreras, or even Christian Vasquez, it appears reinforcements are coming to the Astros lineup, both at the plate and behind it.