It felt like this was the way things were going last night, as dreadful as it is, but it’s not stopping now.
Willson Contreras is very likely signing with the Cardinals:
The Cardinals, of course, need their first new starting catcher in like 20 years after the retirement of Yadi Molina, and they are betting on Contreras’ bat to do enough to offset whatever his limitations are on defense or in game-calling/game-planning (if those limitations actually exist). Or maybe the Cardinals have a secret sauce to unlock that part for Contreras, even at age 31, and we’re about to see him go to a whole other level. Because, you know, Cardinals.
I mean, I’m happy Contreras is going to get paid, and I’m happy the Cubs will recoup a draft pick after the second round in 2023. And I also knew that Contreras wasn’t returning to the Cubs a long, long time ago. Get paid, dude.
But the idea of having to watch Contreras play for the Cardinals just makes me cringe. It’s like with Dexter Fowler, but 10 times worse. I *loved* watching Contreras play for the Cubs. And as much as I understand – and even agree with – the direction the Cubs want to go at the catcher spot, that doesn’t mean I want to see Contreras in red. It hurts.
UPDATE: A little more thinking out loud while we wait for the hammer to drop. The Cardinals were also in on Sean Murphy and Christian Vazquez, and since the Cubs weren’t in on Contreras, at least this helps the Cubs in the marketplace. From a fan perspective, though, not exactly an even trade in the moment.
I guess that said, I really do want the Cubs to land Vazquez (I tend to think Murphy is really unlikely, given how much he’ll cost in trade – but yeah, he’d be AWESOME). I hope this accelerates that process, and I also hope the Cubs are right in their bet that losing Contreras’s bat can be more than made up by doing more to max out run-prevention and pitching-performance.
UPDATE 2: Wow. Willson is getting five years:
That seems like a long deal to me, but then again, I suppose if he’s still got a DH-caliber bat in a couple years, the Cardinals can much more easily still get value even if the glove slips. Still, I would not have guessed five years when the offseason began. Good for him.
UPDATE 3: Willson Contreras definitely got paid:
That’s $17.5 million annually for Contreras on a five-year deal. And he was attached to draft pick compensation, so he costs the Cardinals their second highest draft pick (and bonus pool space) and $500,000 in international bonus pool money.
The Cubs, meanwhile, get a compensatory pick after the second round.
Now the question is how much money the Cardinals have left to spend, and where they might put it to work. I tend to think they still need another starting pitcher.