We knew when Jed Hoyer had his season-ending news conference that Willson Contreras was going to receive a qualifying offer.
Today, he received it and rejected it:
Cubs are extending the $19.65M qualifying offer to Willson Contreras, and he is declining it, making him a free agent. Very good two-way catcher should do extremely well on the open market.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 8, 2022
Okay, so I was wrong on 50/50.
It is, I suppose, still possible that Contreras could return to the Cubs, though it seems reasonably clear from both Hoyer and Contreras that the parties are going to move on and that Contreras will be playing elsewhere in 2023. Where that will be remains to be seen, and honestly, even if he winds up signing with the Cardinals (which appears possible), I hope there will be little rending of garments. This is simply the way baseball works in 2022.
This post is simply to get the word out to you that this happened today. Both Sara Sanchez and I will have much more to say on Contreras’ departure from the Cubs tomorrow, so stay tuned.