The Houston Astros were considered one of the top landing spots for Willson Contreras at the trade deadline.
Instead, the Chicago Cubs removed him from the trade block. The Astros then pivoted to Christian Vazquez in an attempt to solidify the position. Not only did Vazquez fail to unseat Martin Maldonado, but he is also a free agent at the end of the season. This would essentially leave Houston in the same spot behind the plate heading into next year as they were this season.
While the Astros clearly value Maldonado’s defense and command of the pitching staff, they also need far more offensively. His .186/.248/.352 batting line is not nearly good enough, no matter how strong of a glove he may have.
Enter Contreras. He ended the year with a .243/.349/.466 batting line in his 487 plate appearances, belting 22 homers and 23 doubles. He has even worked to improve his defense, throwing out 31% of would-be basestealers while performing relatively well behind the plate.
In the end, it could come down to who is in charge of the front office. Current GM James Click has been more conservative, preferring smaller moves to any major blockbusters. Owner Jim Crane, however, is more inclined to target major names. Contreras would be a fit, but it comes down to how much the front office wants to spend.