Tuesday afternoon when Chicago concludes its brief two-game matchup against the Pirates at Wrigley Field, it’ll almost certainly be the final time Willson Contreras plays in front of the North Side faithful wearing a Cubs uniform – and he knows it.
"“I’m trying just to appreciate everything that Wrigley Field is, and thinking about all the memories that I have here since 2016, [in the organization] from 2009 till now,” an emotional Contreras told the Sun-Times on Monday night. “It’s probably — I don’t know — but probably my last home stand with the fans this year. It’s tough for me. It’s really tough.”"
The three-time All-Star laced a double off Pirates starter JT Brubaker in the Cubs’ 3-2 win over Pittsburgh, and was getting all the love from a packed Wrigley Field – full of fans who are well aware of what’s about to happen with just a week til the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
We all lived through this last year – watching Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant (among several others) get traded after the team turned in a double-digit losing streak that erased any visions of potentially sneaking into the postseason for one last run with the core that brought home that long-awaited World Series championship in 2016.
Now, Rizzo looks to be in a position where he could end up adding another ring to his collection in the Bronx, while Baez and Bryant continue to spin in circles with their new clubs.
Cubs: Willson Contreras knows he’s as good as gone ahead of the deadline
As for Contreras, he’s made it clear in no uncertain terms: he wants to be a Cub for life. But with no talks between his camp and the front office, it’s a near-guarantee Jed Hoyer trades him in the coming days. That’s not to say the team couldn’t bring him back in free agency this winter, but that possibility doesn’t weaken the blow in the meantime.
"“I wish this day never came,” Contreras said. “But it’s about business. I understand that, I respect that. And I love my team. I love my teammates most, and I don’t want to get too attached with them because you never know what’s going to happen next week, or this week even in San Francisco. It’s been a tough couple of days for me.”"
There are a handful of teams that make sense as potential trade partners, including the Mets, Astros, Giants and Padres. Each comes with a particular set of hurdles when it comes to a Contreras trade – so we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground over the next week as the trade market takes shape.
Let’s just hope Contreras gets that one last game at Wrigley. We all remember Chicago’s decision to sit both Bryant and Rizzo last year, robbing both them and the fans of that one last farewell. Contreras more than deserves that – and you can bet he’ll be lobbying to be in the lineup Tuesday in front of the home faithful.