You can add November 8 to the long list of miserable days over the last two years for the Chicago Cubs. The news started trickling out in the early evening hours that Willson Contreras was officially a free agent.
As expected, the Cubs did offer Willson Contreras a qualifying offer of close to $20 million and the All-Star catcher decided to decline the offer. Both of those moves were expected, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept.
Kyle Hendricks is now the last man standing from the 2016 World Series team, and it’s almost remarkable to think just how quick this teardown was. Contreras actually stuck around a lot longer than expected after the Cubs were unable to find a trade partner at the Trade Deadline.
There will be a number of teams that are looking to sign Willson Contreras as a free agent, and that list is going to include the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs will receive a compensatory draft pick by extending a qualifying offer, but that’s a small consolation prize for most Cubs fans to accept.
Willson Contreras Came In With a Bang
Willson Contreras had a ton of huge moments with the Chicago Cubs, but it was his first memory that will always stand out. All he did was homer on the first pitch that he saw in the Major Leagues, and he did it against the hated Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday Night Baseball.
The Cubs were going through a bit of a lull during the 2016 season, and things all turned back around when Contreras came up. He also hit a memorable long ball against Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS and he always seemed to come through in the clutch.
Contreras always played with a fire and a passion that made him a fan-favorite around Wrigley Field. He was the heart and soul of the team, even if there were other players that tended to get more of the credit.
This is another player that begged the Cubs to keep him and let him finish his career in Chicago, but he was pushed out the door like the rest of them.
Creates Another Massive Hole
By all accounts, the Cubs are going to be in a position to spend some money during free agency, and not having to pay Contreras will help with that. The problem is that the catcher position is one of the hardest to fill, especially when looking for a superstar player.
There is going to come a point in time in which the Cubs are going to be a World Series contender again, but they might end up being just one player short. The Cubs have now created another massive hole for themselves, and it’s at one of the most important positions in baseball.
Say what you want about Willson Contreras and his overall ability at the position, but he was one of the best in baseball. This is a huge gamble by the Cubs and it might be the one move that ends up costing them the most.
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