I’m going to play the contrarian here. Honestly, I don’t care whether he signed with the Cardinals, or if it had been another team, once it was clear that Willson Contreras was not returning to the Cubs.
Contreras put together a fine offensive season in 2022, as he has done several times in the past... when he was healthy. He played in just 113 games in 2022, and his last real “full” season was 2018, when he played in 138 games. He started just 72 games behind the plate in 2022, with 39 starts at DH.
For all of you screaming or tearing your hair out because he signed with the Cubs’ biggest rival, I suggest you take a few deep breaths and recognize that the reason the Cubs did not retain Contreras is that the current front office values things from catchers other than what Contreras provided, which was primarily offense.
This article from The Athletic from last September sums it up, regarding Yan Gomes’ work with Cubs pitchers:
During his 15 years as a catcher, much of them backing up more offensively talented teammates, manager David Ross took a lot of pride in working with his pitchers and learning the nuances of the game that come with playing behind the plate. Ross still loves to dig into those little facets of pitching and how to attack hitters, often sitting with Gomes before or after games discussing those aspects.
“What stands out to me is how he communicates with the pitchers,” Ross said. “He uses a lot of his experience to navigate through a game. Even when he may not know these guys completely, he’s making adjustments really quickly. He’ll get off game plan if he needs to or just hammer their strengths. Guys throw well to him and he’s just a calming presence back there with how he handles a game.”
I tend to agree with this. While I certainly enjoyed having Contreras as a Cub, and his passion for the game is virtually unequaled, it became clear in his later years that he didn’t provide this sort of value. And please, don’t say that means “Al didn’t like Willson” because I will point you to this appreciation article I wrote in November that clearly says that I did.
Just don’t get too bent out of shape because he’s a Cardinal. I wish Willson well, except when he’s facing the Cubs — and remember, starting in 2023 with the new schedule, that means only 14 times a year instead of 19.
Here’s the dollar figure for Contreras’ deal — make of it what you will:
Catcher Willson Contreras and the St. Louis Cardinals are in agreement on a five-year, $87.5 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2022
Now, Jed, go out and get the Cubs another catcher.
As a St. Louis Cardinal, Willson Contreras will...
This poll is closed
... put up better numbers than he did as a Cub
... put up about the same numbers that he did as a Cub
... put up worse numbers than he did as a Cub