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Mets appear focused on Cubs’ Willson Contreras in thinning catcher market

WASHINGTON — Christian Vazquez’s respectable offensive skills, in addition to his ability behind the plate, appealed to the Mets as they search for a possible upgrade at catcher. 

But Vazquez’s trade from Boston to Houston on Monday for two prospects may have signaled the Mets are more interested in Willson Contreras. 

The Mets have spoken to the Cubs about a deal that would send Contreras and David Robertson to Queens, according to sources. But the Mets remain hesitant to surrender higher-level prospects (such as Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio) for rentals. Contreras and Robertson are free agents after the season. 

As much as the Mets have embraced Tomas Nido and James McCann for their work behind the plate, the position has been a black hole offensively and the team won’t rush prospect Francisco Alvarez. McCann is on the injured list for the second time this season, but has been playing minor league rehab games and could return on the upcoming hometstand. 

Contreras is a fit for the Mets in that he brings a right-handed bat that could move into the DH role when he isn’t catching. 

Willson Contreras
Willson Contreras

Dominic Smith, whose future with the Mets is murky following the additions of left-handed batters Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin, is expected to begin a rehab assignment by the end of the week. Smith has spent the past two weeks on the injured list with a sprained right ankle. 

The Mets failed to sign third-round draft pick Brandon Sproat ahead of Monday’s deadline. Sproat, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Florida, had a slot value of $691,300. 

Travis Jankowski was claimed off waivers by the Mariners. The outfielder was designated for assignment by the Mets in recent days, following Naquin’s arrival. The Mets had hoped Jankowski would clear waivers and possibly return to the organization. 

Buck Showalter received a reminder about how on edge players can be in the days leading to the trade deadline. Showalter asked bench coach Glenn Sherlock to summon Nido to his office — the manager wanted to tell the catcher he’s been doing a good job — and Nido thought he was perhaps traded.