Keeping Willson Contreras around sounds good, in theory. Cubs fans get to celebrate their star catcher for at least another few months. But there’s a dark side.
Contreras was expected to be dealt at the trade deadline, given that he’s on an expiring contract and the Cubs haven’t offered him a realistic extension since 2018.
Yet, Chicago couldn’t find a suitor who would meet their asking price. So, they balked, and kept him past the 6 p.m. ET deadline.
Does that mean they’ve reconsidered, and will keep him long-term? That feels unlikely. Jed Hoyer is content with attaching a qualifying offer to Contreras this offseason, and receiving a comp pick for him. While we can (rightly) question him for that, it appears to be the front office’s decision-making.
Could that come back to haunt Hoyer and Co.?
Willson Contreras rumors: Rival is a perfect suitor
With Yadier Molina likely to retire this offseason, the Cardinals will be in the market for a new catcher. Unless the Cubs re-sign him to a new contract, St. Louis makes a lot of sense.
This wouldn’t be the first time a former Cub turned Cardinal haunted the Windy City. Lou Brock sound familiar?
Comparing Contreras to Brock at this juncture is premature, but why even open that door? By keeping Contreras in Chicago, the Cubs not only decreased their potential return, but took away any likelihood of the backstop latching on with a contender this season.
Who knows? With the right organization, perhaps he would’ve been more inclined to sign there, rather than test free agency.
Instead, Contreras will head into the unknown, with zero attachment to the Cubs and little reason to feel remorse for signing with a rival.