Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras is the player for the team to build around

Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have several players on their current roster who could be seen as the face of a franchise. How they view each will shape the team’s future.

Close your eyes, reach into a hat and grab a name. Between Kris Bryant, David Bote, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras, the Chicago Cubs have plenty of names capable of carrying a franchise.

If choosing just one, the most popular choice would likely come down to either Baez and Bryant, two men who have thrown their name in the National League MVP hunt in recent years. But if you were given the opportunity to start your franchise, would you choose differently?

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Before we continue, this is in no way any form of disrespect to those who have not been chosen for the fun of it. We’ve all had this discussion with friends at some point in our lives – consider it a short-term replacement for bar stool talk.

I have always been a fan of those who play first base and sit behind the dish. Any first baseman on the field should be considered the pillar of the team while the catcher plays the role of shot-caller or field general if you will.

Which narrows my list down to Rizzo and Willson. While the former has already proven to have what it takes to lead a franchise, you shouldn’t overlook a guy such as Contreras. So he would be my guy.

Why, do you ask? Easy, Yadier Molina. For 17 seasons, Molina has evolved into one of the greatest catchers in the history of this sport. Despite him representing the St. Louis Cardinals, you cannot deny this fact that he is one of the all-time greats.

When comparing the two, you’d have to give Contreras the nod when it comes to power early on. In his first four big league seasons, Willson has hit 67 home runs with 227 RBI while slashing .267/.350/.470.

As for Molina (an eight-time All-Star), he tallied 22 big flies with 153 RBI between the 2004 and 2007 campaigns. Of course, the defensive nod would be given to Molina. The 37-year-old is a nine-time Gold Glove winner, running the table from 2008 to 2015, with his latest in 2018.

Entering the 2020 campaign, Molina’s career is likely to be coming to an end very shortly as he chases 2,000 hits. In the past, Contreras said that he wanted to be the best catcher in the game. Something Molina may or may not have taken lightly. Needless to say, the seasoned veteran got over it.

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Either way, hearing this from Contreras is something that caught my attention. Although his journey to becoming the best has only begun, there is a fire that burns within the 28-year-old Venezuelan-born catcher.

Let us hope that it will continue to burn bright as a member of the Chicago Cubs.