Cubs Rumors: Willson Contreras open to in-season extension talks

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

This week, we’ve gotten quite a bit of Willson Contreras-related bits, both from Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and a report from NBC Sports Chicago. We’ll delve into both here as we celebrate Fergie Jenkins Day at the Friendly Confines, with the greatest hurler in franchise history finally getting a long-overdue statue outside the ballpark.

First, let’s start with the report from Gordon Wittenmyer, which stated it’s been ‘crickets’ from the front office when it comes to any extension talks with Contreras, who is off to the best start of his career and is head-and-shoulders above any other catcher in the league offensively right now.

For his part, though, Contreras says he’s open to in-season talks with Chicago – giving all of us a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, we won’t be getting yet another farewell video in the coming weeks and months when the two-time All-Star is traded.

"“Sure. That doesn’t bother me. We’re already going to have a hearing soon anyway,” said Contreras. “We’re going to have to go through a hearing, and whatever happens there is going to happen, so it doesn’t bother me at all.”"

The hearing Contreras refers to is in regards to his still-undecided salary for 2022, with the Cubs and his camp set to head into an arbitration hearing in June unless they can hammer something out ahead of time. As for what a potential contract extension looks like, it feels like the price tag attached to it grows higher with each passing day.

What would a Willson Contreras extension with the Cubs look like?

The two benchmarks, if you will, for what a deal might look like are Yasmani Grandal’s four-year, $73 million ($18.25M AAV) deal with the White Sox and JT Realmuto’s five-year, $115.5 million ($23.1M AAV) pact with the Phillies. Given the tremendous showing he’s had since the DH came to the NL this year, I’d tend to think Contreras is going to get north of $20 million annually in a new contract.

So what does the front office have to say? Per usual, Hoyer is playing his cards close to his chest.

"“To me, the biggest thing is our relationship is good,” Hoyer said, before saying that he wanted to see the difference the DH (and getting Contreras a lighter workload behind the plate) this year – and that, so far, “so good.”"

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Despite dominance, still no extension for Willson Contreras. dark. Next

It would be a total surprise – albeit a welcome one – to see the Cubs come out an announce a long-term extension with Contreras, who is looking like a lock for his third All-Star selection this summer. Despite a glaring lack of depth at the position organizationally, it doesn’t look like this front office and ownership group will set even a toe outside its comfort zone, even for a player like Contreras.