A Player from Each NL Central Team That Will Give the Cubs a Problem
Willson Contreras - C - St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have many players to choose from here. Paul Goldschmidt mentioned earlier, and Nolan Arenado, Ryan Helsley, and Tommy Edman are all players that come to mind. Tommy Edman turned into an elite player when he played the Cubs last year. However, it would feel wrong to put anyone but Willson Contreras here.
The argument can definitely be made that Contreras plays with the most emotion out of any player in the MLB. He wears his heart on his sleeve and it shows. The Cubs did not trade him at the deadline in 2022, but their refusal to extend him made it abundantly clear that his tenure with the team was over. The 30-year-old has obviously never played the Cubs, but he was able to put up some pretty good numbers versus the NL Central as a group last season. More than half of his RBIs and runs scored came against the division while 11 of his 22 home runs were against division rivals.
The Cubs struggled the most when facing the cardinals. Cubs' pitching gave up 5+ runs in 12 of their 19 games last season. Needless to say, St. Louis does not stress when they see Chicago on their schedule. The Cubs have not had a winning season against the Cardinals since 2017, and the Cardinals' addition of Contreras makes that losing streak likely to continue. Contreras visits Wrigley for the first time as a Cardinal on May 8th and he is just another weapon added to an already deep lineup in St. Louis.