The Cubs and Padres have had a will-they-won’t-they relationship for so many years in relation to a half-dozen players, with Yu Darvish the only consummation. The many talks are undoubtedly real – I have always gotten the feeling that Padres President A.J. Preller talks with every team about every idea all at once – but I will stop getting my hopes up for the mythical buy-a-prospect-by-taking-Eric-Hosmer’s-contract trade.
That said, the Cubs are still going to garner trade mentions in connection to the Padres this year thanks to the Padres’ theoretical interest in upgrading behind the plate.
To that end, check out this anecdote from the San Diego Union-Tribune, about the intersection between Padres starter Joe Musgrove and All-Star catcher Willson Contreras:
After leaving the field Tuesday night at the All-Star Game, Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove shared an embrace with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras in the Dodger Stadium dugout.
Contreras, who caught Musgrove in the third inning, is a trade target of the Padres.
“This might not be the last time we do this,” Musgrove told him ….
With the MLB Draft having concluded Tuesday, it is expected that trade talks will become more serious in the coming days.
Just a joke, of course. But a telling one? A hopeful one? Does Musgrove have a sense that, indeed, the Padres really do want to upgrade their catching group? A pretty interesting anecdote to include in a discussion about possible catcher trade rumors.
Even setting aside the anecdote, it’s worth noting the line from Kevin Acee out of San Diego: Contreras *is* a trade target for the Padres. No hedging there. Just interest.
It makes sense, of course, what with Contreras being the best rental bat on the market and a catcher by trade. The Padres’ catching group of Austin Nola and Jorge Alfaro have combined to hit .258/.309/.369/94 wRC+, which is certainly not bad for your catchers, but could be substantially upgraded by including Contreras. Moreover, frequent DH Luke Voit is hitting .220/.308/.413/105 wRC+, which, again, is not terrible, but leaves plenty of room for an upgrade.
I guess we’ll have to keep the Padres in mind in the swirl of coming Willson Contreras trade rumors. Will they, won’t they. All that stuff. And I’ll probably start dreaming up bigger deals where the Cubs still take on Hosmer in the deal in order to get an even more significant prospect package, since I just can’t quit it ….