Cubs beat reporter Bruce Levine recently recapped the continued off-season rumors that the Cubs and Rays could be a match for a potential trade.
He states that the Rays didn't meet the asking price on Baez back in December but quotes Jed Hoyer as saying on MLB Radio: "I talk to Matt (Silverman) quite a bit... I think there are only a handful of teams that you look at and say, ‘That is a good match.’ That doesn’t mean a deal will come together right away."
The article highlights the Cubs' interest in Jake Odorizzi, Jake McGee, and Desmond Jennings, while calling out the Rays' interest in Javier Baez, as well as catching prospect Willson Contreras.
Contreras is a converted infielder who has turned into an above average catcher. He's from Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela and has been in the Cubs system since he was 17 years old. Contreras has experience at first and third base, and grades at least average behind the plate.
The reason the Rays might covet him is not only youth (Contreras has no MLB service time) but his amazing turn around from being not listed on any Cubs Top 10 lists to now being rated the number one catching prospect by MLB.com. They provide the following marks for scouting grades:
Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Baseball Prospectus will be releasing their Top 101 prospects shortly, and he sits at 57th, the top catcher on the board. The two catchers behind him are Jacob Nottingham of Oakland and Jorge Alfaro of Philadelphia, well known catching prospects.
Contreras had an unreal season in 2015, combining for a .33/.413/.478 batting line in AA, winning the Southern League batting title. Now he looks poised to be in the long line of Cubs prospects who have hit well at a major league level.
Only 23 years old, he is certain to start this season at Triple A Iowa after dominating with the Smokies in 2015. It will be interesting to see him in action handling a staff that will have a lot of diversity at the Triple A level.