The Padres are expected to be involved in the Juan Soto sweepstakes, but they might not be done there. According to Buster Olney, San Diego is also having conversations with the Cubs about Willson Contreras. That would give them the catching upgrade they were hoping they’d gotten with Victor Caratini last year when they made a splash for Yu Darvish and would help them in their push to lock down the top Wild Card spot.
While the baseball world continues to wait for resolution of the Juan Soto talks, the Padres also involved in conversations about Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2022
As you may recall, the initial reports of the Darvish deal said a catcher was involved and people immediately started speculating that it was Contreras. That wouldn’t have made as much sense for the Cubs at the time, but kind of lot’s changed since then. Starter Jorge Alfaro has hit very well, but backup Austin Nola is having the worst offensive performance of his young career and top catching prospect Luis Campusano has spent most of the season at Triple-A.
If the Padres do acquire Contreras, he figures to be in a similar catching timeshare to what he’s seen in Chicago, with a good deal of plate appearances at DH when he’s not behind the plate. San Diego would have to further deplete a system that remains very strong at the top end despite trades for Darvish, Mike Clevinger, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell, but they can’t be discounted because A.J. Preller is a madman.
The plus side of this is that San Diego is one of the few Contreras destinations that wouldn’t make me want to throw things.