Willson Contreras Reminds Us That, When It Comes to Extensions, Winning Matters, Too

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Willson Contreras Reminds Us That, When It Comes to Extensions, Winning Matters, Too

Chicago Cubs

When it comes to “extension” topics, you’re usually talking about one thing: money. Whether a team (the Cubs, in our usual instances) will pay enough of it to get a player (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javy Báez, most commonly lately) to accept it.

To be sure, money – as simplistic as it seems – really is about 90-95% of the conversation. For most players in most situations, if the money is top-of-market, the deal will get done (extension or free agency, frankly). These guys have a limited time to play their chosen profession at the highest level, and limited opportunities to strike it big when they get a shot. So they want to get paid when they have a chance to get paid. Period.

BUT! What about that other consideration? That bit that runs alongside the money consideration? The bit that might sway a guy on the fence? The bit that might help convince a guy that an extension offer *IS* good money for him in the current situation?

To this point, I really dug that NBC Sports Chicago spoke with Willson Contreras about extensions, how he doesn’t seem to come up in the current chatter, and what considerations go into these situations. We already know that Contreras is discussed less often than his impending-free-agent teammates primarily for that reason – they’re closer to free agency, and thus, departure – and we kinda already suspect that the five-year, $115.5 million J.T. Realmuto deal is going to be bandied about as a comp for the money side of things (with some play in the years and dollars to account for team control, age, projected performance, etc.).

What we *don’t* know is what Contreras thinks about actually re-upping with the Chicago Cubs for another 4+ years at this point. To be sure, we don’t quite know what any of the impending free agents thinks, either. Sure, they all “love the Cubs” and “love Chicago” and “love Wrigley and the fans” and all that stuff, but I’m talking about what the future of the organization looks like for the period they’re signing onto. Is this a big market club that wants to throw its weight around in a loaded free agent class to be competitive next year? Or is this organization that is going to take a step back no matter what because of the timing of contracts and the needs of the farm system? I sure as heck would like to know the answers to those questions if I were going to sign up for my final prime years! Because there’s one other big thing that these guys all love: to win.

“I love to win,” Contreras told NBCSC. “I would love to get to the playoffs a few more times and get to the World Series at least two or three more times in my career. So that’s a deep evaluation that I’d have to do, that [we’d] have to talk about. That’s going to be a long conversation: ‘Who are we going to have on our team, who are we going to keep, who are we trading for, who are we signing?’”

Winning. Consistent shots at making the postseason. Real chances to make it to the World Series. Players care about that stuff. Imagine that.

For his part, Contreras might get an early view on those questions and issues before he actually has to sign on the bottom line. Unless the Cubs try to get him to sign a deal this season, then he’s going to see what happens with Bryant and Rizzo and Báez, among others. He’s gonna see what happens in the offseason. He’s going to experience what kind of competitiveness the Cubs have in 2022. That all matters to him, too, in addition to receiving a level of compensation that is appropriate to his ability and projections.

The broader point here is a reminder: money talks, but the other stuff matters, too. It’s going to matter to these current Cubs as they decide what comes next. It’s going to matter to free agents who are maybe getting similar offers from multiple teams. It’s going to matter to future youngsters that the Cubs want to extend pre-arbitration (hey, don’t forget that’s a thing! just because the Cubs haven’t done it much … ).

Check out NBCSC for much more of the Contreras interview, including his desire to see the core stick together.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.