Yankees Bold Offseason Prediction: New York Trades For Willson Contreras

Who will squat behind the plate in a Yankees uniform on Opening Day next year?

In all likelihood, Gary Sánchez will get the start, embarking on his eighth season in pinstripes. 

Then again, general manager Brian Cashman opened the door to a possible move at catcher this offseason, >taking a noncommittal approach to Sánchez's future.

 If an opportunity to upgrade at the position presented itself, you have to figure Cashman and the Yankees would be ready to pounce.

So, who could that upgrade be? 

In a recent article walking through bold offseason moves for every team, ESPN's Bradford Doolittle

 connected the Yankees to a top-tier backstop that could be on the move this winter. 

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Trade for Willson Contreras

Contreras is one of the few holdovers from the Cubs' 2016 championship team. He'll be a free agent after next season, which should keep his trade value reasonable. So far, Contreras and the Cubs haven't come to an agreement on an extension, and with Chicago in a transitional phase, that marks him as a classic trade candidate.

For the Yankees, Contreras would give them a backstop with star potential who at the very least allows them to put Gary Sanchez in more of a DH, part-time catcher role. Also, Contreras would add some intensity to the Yankees' clubhouse. Not to say that's needed, but when a team is struggling to get over the top, a player with a little fire can help light the spark.

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Doolittle isn't the first pundit to list Contreras as a possible option for the Yankees this offseason.

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Weeks ago, The Athletic's Jim Bowden created a trade proposal for New York to acquire Contreras, sending pitching prospects Deivi García and Yoendrys Gómez along with Sánchez to Chicago.

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Contreras, 29, isn't perfect for the Yankees—he's another right-handed bat that strikes out quite a bit—but he hits for power, plays solid defense behind the dish and has produced better numbers recently than Sánchez.

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In 2021, Contreras whacked 21 homers while hitting .237. Back in 2019, in fewer games played, Contreras hit 24 bombs (a career high), slashed .272/.355/.533 and made the All-Star Game.

Doolittle envisioned a scenario where Sánchez isn't part of a trade for Contreras, using him as a designated hitter going forward. That seems a little redundant, especially with backup catcher Kyle Higashioka on the roster as well, but with Contreras only under contract for one more year, this would allow New York to add a new face to the equation and delay any long-term decisions at the position. 

Besides, New York and Chicago have traded together in the past. Just a few months ago, at the trade deadline, New York sent a couple prospects to the Cubs in exchange for Anthony Rizzo.

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Source : https://www.si.com/mlb/yankees/news/yankees-bold-prediction-mlb-analyst-trade-chicago-cubs-willson-contreras

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