Contreras Leans Into Cardinal-dom, Cubs and Catchers, Heyward's New Gig, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Contreras Leans Into Cardinal-dom, Cubs and Catchers, Heyward’s New Gig, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I’m gonna be doing a little traveling over the next five days, so I will PERSONALLY hope no major transactions go down in that time. But for your sake, I will wish you all the big moves you crave. If and when that stuff does happen, Michael and Patrick will be around pitching in on coverage, and/or I will dig in when the travel schedule permits. For most of the middle parts of the day, that’s when I’ll be absent, though. Apologies in advance if you notice some lighter content days.

  • I don’t like much about this, and I’ll just tell myself that it’s the kind of thing a player has to say when signing up with a new team – especially a rival – if he wants to get buy-in from the fans:
  • Still. It just makes me cringe a bit to think about Contreras on the Cubs’ bench imagining himself as a Cardinal. At least we know Willson is DEFINITELY going to lean into this rivalry. (Also, in fairness to Contreras, by the time that moment happened, it was likely VERY clear to him that the Cubs were ready to move on, so why wouldn’t he be thinking about free agency and other teams?)
  • If you were wondering, yes, Contreras did say he wants to beat the Cubs: “I knew I had to keep working and getting better, so I was ready when this opportunity came. I always wanted to do something every single day to get better even though [the Cubs] were rebuilding. … I’m excited for the next chapter, and I’m looking forward to beating the Chicago Cubs. I want to do everything I can to help the St. Louis Cardinals win it all.”
  • Contreras’s five-year deal comes with a sixth-year team option, by the way:
  • It’s actually not impossible to imagine that Contreras will still be worth well over $10 million annually in that sixth year, even if not as a catcher, because he might still be hitting well.
  • From the Cubs:
  • You have to be SUPER careful with catcher ERA stats, because they are extraordinarily noisy. But it is hard not to notice when it is this stark:
  • To be sure, we’ve noticed this kind of thing before in the numbers with Contreras, HOWEVER (1) he had plenty of success behind the plate with Jon Lester, and you think a veteran like Lester would let a catcher torch his performance?; and (2) Contreras’ bat is so good that you permit SOME drop-off in performance.
  • That said, just consider it another (small, noisy) data point for why the Cubs are wanting to go all out on a run-prevention catching tandem. Their ideal, I suspect, would be two Yan Gomes back there, which is why I think Christian Vazquez remains the prime target. (Well, short of trading for Sean Murphy, who is fantastic behind the plate AND batting.)
  • The pre-arbitration bonus pool (remember that thing) is being paid out this month:
  • I haven’t seen the full list yet, but I’ve gotta believe Nico Hoerner is going to get a little extra scratch (Update as I type: yup, Nico got at least $500,000 – good for him). Maybe Justin Steele, too? Not sure anyone else would get into the top 100 performances by pre-arbitration players.
  • I wish Heyward well and everything, but I would point out that Trayce Thompson actually hit well when in the Cubs organization, too – it was just small sample, mostly at Triple-A, and without a chance to show it in the big leagues:
  • Also, maybe there is a metric that shows Heyward still has above-average bat speed, but the eye test seemed to suggest it was slowing waaaay down over his years with the Cubs. Still, whatever – the Cubs did the best they could by Heyward, and he worked as hard as he could with them. So if he does rebound with the Dodgers, it’s no knock on him or the Cubs. It’s just the way it played out.
  • Not entirely unlike Cody Bellinger now and the Cubs.
  • Old friend becomes new coach in the Cubs organization:

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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.