This one doesn’t even fall in the trade rumors category because it’s long dead, but I felt it was worth revisiting the offseason scuttlebutt about the Marlins’ interest in Willson Contreras. SportsGrid’s Craig Mish reported back in January that there had been exploratory talks and added that none of Miami’s top 10 prospects had been discussed, which is why there was never any traction toward a deal despite what may have been mutual initial interest.
Already smarting from the move that sent Yu Darvish and backup catcher Victor Caratini to San Diego for Zach Davies and a slew of teenagers, the Cubs would have been keelhauled for moving Contreras in similar fashion. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, that’s more or less what the Marlins were looking to do.
The Marlins, impressed by how Jorge Alfaro worked on his game this offseason, decided that they would stick with him to begin 2021 unless they could acquire the Cubs’ Willson Contreras by trade. They also inquired about catcher Yermin Mercedes, as we explained here; Mercedes has been a revelation for the White Sox.
The Marlins pursued a Contreras trade but Chicago asked for more quality prospects than the Marlins were willing to relinquish. Any deal likely would have included Alfaro, outfield prospect Peyton Burdick and pitching prospect Zach McCambley, among others.
Alfaro would have been included because he’d be imminently expendable and the Cubs would have been without a catcher, but that would have been a huge step back. Burdick is currently ranked No. 12 in Miami’s system and he’s got some nice tools, just not enough to anchor a return for an All-Star. The 22-year-old McCambley is ranked 23rd in the system and his inclusion feels like the Marlins were trying to get the Cubs to bite.
He’s a Coastal Carolina guy, which the Cubs like, and he’s got a great curveball with a heater that touches 96 mph. The Marlins probably tried to play up the combination of stuff and polish from being a college pitcher to get the Cubs to sell low, or at least that’s what I gather from the hypotheticals here.
I had theorized back in January that it’d take a haul including the likes of 19-year-old southpaw Dax Fulton or 22-year-old Kyle Nicolas to generate real interest, but the Marlins almost certainly weren’t willing to part with either. Not that it matters now, of course, it’s just interesting to look back and perform belated autopsies from time to time.
Ed. note: H/t to CI alum Tommy Cook for the heads-up on the Jackson piece.