Chicago Cubs fans will hate this National League MVP prediction
Former Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has said all the right things this offseason in order to be embraced by the Cardinals' faithful as the regular season begins on Thursday and there is no doubt that Contreras will draw the ire of Cubs fans with his style of play when the two teams cross paths this season.
Contreras is motivated to prove that the Cubs were wrong in their assessment of the National League All-Star catcher and at least one national Major League Baseball expert is buying into the hype. While offering up his bold predictions for the season ahead, former Cubs' beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer shared that he believes Contreras will be the National League MVP this season.
"For the first time since World War II, St. Louis Cardinals will have back-to-back MVPs who are not the same player — and, no, this isn’t about Nolan Arenado. It was Mort Cooper, Stan Musial and Marty Marion from 1942-44. This time it’s newly signed catcher Willson Contreras — a three-time All-Star who has never received an MVP vote — following Paul Goldschmidt last year. No player with this much talent is as motivated in 2023 to succeed in place of Yadi Molina as the player who was all but ushered into free agency and out of town by the ingrate, pound-foolish Chicago Cubs."- Gordon Wittenmyer via Sportsnaut
Contreras winning the National League MVP award with the Cardinals this season would certainly be a "last laugh" moment. The Cubs haven't exactly spoke glowingly about Contreras since his departure and that could be what led him to the Cardinals and embracing the Cardinals' way.
Still, despite what motivation there may be, Contreras winning the National League MVP award in 2023 seems farfetched. Contreras isn't even the best player on the Cardinals' roster let alone the National League.
The shortcomings that Contreras has defensively as a catcher would seemingly suggest that he would need to have perhaps the greatest offensive season for a catcher ever in order to be realistic candidate to win the MVP award. That will be a stretch for the former Cubs' catcher and likely will be the reason why the likes of Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Manny Machado are among the players that will land ahead of him in the voting for the award.