Cubs: Willson Contreras – successor to Cardinals’ Yadier Molina?

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Back in July, when Yadier Molina was battling injuries and the Cubs were known to be actively shopping Willson Contreras ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline, I penned a piece calling the idea of Contreras calling St. Louis home ‘a Cubs fan’s worst nightmare’. Well, apparently it’s a nightmare we might yet see come to life.

When asked if he’d thought about what joining the Cardinals and succeeding franchise icon Yadier Molina behind the dish, Contreras told NBC Sports Chicago, ““Oh, yeah, for sure.”

Cubs: Willson Contreras has asked about playing with the Cardinals

Contreras checked in with former Cubs teammate Jose Quintana, who joined the Cardinals at the deadline and has thrived in St. Louis, making a dozen starts and working to a 2.01 ERA/2.60 FIP. It’s not just a blip, either, as the left-hander leads all big league starters with his 0.4 HR/9, all NL pitchers with 32 starts on the year – and he’s been incredibly effective, evidenced by his 2.93 ERA and 2.99 FIP.

(It’s also worth asking ourselves why he never came anywhere close to that level of dominance during his Cubs tenure – but we’ll save that for another time).

"“He said it’s a really good team and he likes it there,” Contreras said. “But we don’t know what’s going to happen.”"

It’s easy to understand why someone like Contreras is intrigued by the idea of following in Molina’s footsteps. After all, look at the treatment Molina, Albert Pujols and, to a lesser degree given he hasn’t officially said he’s done, Adam Wainwright, have received from the organization this year.

It’s a stark contrast to the modus operandi of most modern franchises, the Cubs included. And for someone who gives every fiber of his being to his team, seeing that reciprocated after years of non-talks with Chicago and the emotional roller coaster this year has been would surely pique his interest.

The Cubs seem set on going in a different direction behind the plate, emphasizing glove work and defensive skills over the offensive firepower someone like Contreras brings. There were reportedly league-wide concerns with Contreras’ work with the mitt at the trade deadline, so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on that perception this offseason as he tests free agency for the first time.

The Cubs, Willson Contreras and the future. dark. Next

Odds are, we’ve seen the last of Contreras in a Cubs jersey. The question now becomes: are we ready to see him don the St. Louis threads in 2023? The answer, at least for most of us, is ‘absolutely not’.