According to a report yesterday from 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine, the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres have checked in on Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.
The Cubs have spent this offseason adding several new faces to the organization, including veteran catcher Yan Gomes. It’s understandable that there would be rumors spewing out about the possibility of Contreras being traded this offseason, but I’m not worried just yet.
With Opening Day in a little over two weeks, it would be very difficult for a new catcher to join a team, expect to be the everyday starting backstop, and learn every pitcher on the roster in a such a short amount of time. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Could we see him be dealt sometime during the season? Possibly, but I hope not.
The real question regarding Willson Contreras is this: why hasn’t Tom Ricketts and Co. opened the checkbook on the cornerstone catcher yet?
Where's the Extension?
Willson Contreras has been important to the heartbeat within the Cubs for the last five seasons. In addition, he's a top five catcher in the league. Catching talents like him don't come around an organization very often.
In his six seasons with the Cubs, Contreras has posted a stat line that includes 95 home runs, 110 doubles, 310 RBI, a .259 batting average, and an .807 OPS. He’s played consistently solid defense every year, ranking in the top half of MLB in caught stealing percentage among active catchers. Also, he’s made two All-Star appearances so far (in just six seasons). All this comes from a guy who was drafted as a third baseman.
At the end of the 2021 season, Tom Ricketts stated in an email to Cubs fans that the franchise has “the resources necessary to compete in 2022 and beyond, and we will use them.” Yes, the Cubs have signed some very intriguing pieces so far this offseason. But, Contreras is one of those resources. He’s arguably the team’s greatest resource. If Tom Ricketts really wants to compete in 2022, he will make the smart decision, drop the football club idea for a minute, and do everything he can to re-sign Willson Contreras. If not, then what exactly is the plan here?