Cubs News: Willson Contreras wants zero part of a rebuild
By Jake Misener
All of the headlines and speculation of late has been centered around Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo. That makes sense as all three hit free agency at year’s end. Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, meanwhile, has one more year of control and won’t test those waters until following the 2022 campaign.
If the Chicago hopes to build around Contreras long-term, though, they’ll have to turn this roster over in short order because the two-time All-Star wants zero part of a long-term rebuild at this point in his career.
"“I love to win,” he said. “I would love to get to the playoffs a few more times and get to the World Series at least two or three more times in my career. So that’s a deep evaluation that I’d have to do, that [we’d] have to talk about. That’s going to be a long conversation: ‘Who are we going to have on our team, who are we going to keep, who are we trading for, who are we signing?’"
The early indications from the Jed Hoyer-led front office seem to point toward just that – a rebuild that could take several years to emerge from. The return in the highly-criticized Yu Darvish trade last winter was centered around a package of teenage prospects – none of whom turned heads or had that blue chip luster surrounding him.
We’ll have a clearer indication in the next month-plus, with the Cubs muddling around .500 to this point. They’ve played much better of late – but we don’t yet know if it’ll be enough to turn the team into buyers instead of sellers.
Willson Contreras thinks the Cubs are better off keeping this core
Contreras, who carries a 122 OPS+ heading into Tuesday’s opener against Pittsburgh, has long been considered one of the top offensive catchers in baseball. After showing notable improvements behind the dish last summer, his stock only rose.
Now the question becomes just how highly do the Cubs value the Venezuelan native? With ownership tying one hand behind Hoyer’s back and asking him to field a competitive team, resources are limited. Given the team’s depth behind the dish, largely in the form of top prospect Miguel Amaya, Chicago might be fine letting Contreras walk or trading him before it gets to that point.
But if he had his way, he’d stay in the Windy City – and he wouldn’t be alone, either.
"“If it were my wish, this [core] would stay the same, especially with the young talent coming up and some of the pitchers coming up,” he said. “I think they have a lot of talent.”"
Bryant is playing like an MVP, Baez is heating up in a hurry and Rizzo is doing what he does best. Are they showing their importance to the Cubs or just boosting their trade value? We’ll soon know – and given Contreras’ comments, the team’s actions could shape his future in Chicago, as well.