Rivalries are good. Passionate players are good. I am having fun.
This weekend at the Cubs Convention, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said he wants to be the best catcher in baseball, and he knows he’s going to be better than long-time kings of the land, Yadier Molina and Buster Posey.
MLB memorialized it in a tweet today:
— MLB (@MLB) January 17, 2018
You could actually make the argument that Contreras is already better than those two – in terms of expected 2018 value – but, hey, to be the best you’ve gotta beat the best, and I don’t think Contreras has *quite* yet showed it on the field with respect to Buster Posey. With a little more success in receiving and continued development in his bat, though, Contreras will easily surpass Posey.
As for Molina, I think you could make a pretty sound argument that Contreras (.276/.356/.499 in 2017, with a 121 wRC+, and 3.2 WAR) is clearly better than Molina at this stage (.273/.312/.439, 92, 2.1). Molina has the edge in receiving skills, to be sure, but Contreras is a literal decade younger, with room to grow.
But the Cardinals’ long-time backstop ain’t havin’ it:
For the non-Spanish speakers among you, Molina’s caption – under the image of himself, Posey, and Salvador Perez – there roughly indicates that a youngster should respect the ranks, and that Molina is “here with those who’ve proven they’re the hard ones.”
Gauntlet thrown down.
And then it bounced up and stuck to Yadi’s chest protector.
As for Contreras, he has some additional thoughts:
Willson Contreras just wants to be the best. We all should, right? (from his Instagram story today) pic.twitter.com/LUasrHOWMR
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 17, 2018
What’s interesting in all of this is that many have observed that Contreras has a lot of Molina in him – confidence, brashness, awesome-ness, and a certain willingness to speak up to his pitchers. I am extremely here for a little added rivalry developing between the backstops on these two already-rivals.