Willson Contreras spent 7 seasons pinch nan Chicago Cubs, helping them triumph nan 2016 World Series and break nan franchise’s long-standing drought. He was an All-Star successful 3 of those seasons, including 2022 arsenic 1 of nan champion catchers successful baseball.
But free agency saw him move to an NL Central rival: The St. Louis Cardinals. Since he’s joined nan caller organization, nan 30-year-old has loved everything astir nan Cardinals.
In fact, erstwhile asked to comparison nan 2 organizations, he didn’t clasp back.
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Cubs' Willson Contreras celebrates his expansive slam disconnected Pittsburgh Pirates alleviation pitcher Bryse Wilson connected May 16, 2022, successful Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
"For me, I for illustration this better. It’s a amended organization," Contreras said via Bally Sports Midwest. "We’re almost [have] for illustration aged schoolhouse ways, which I emotion it. That’s thing that I really like. I already talked to nan head astir it, really there’s a [good] civilization here. Ever since I sewage here, it’s been everything conscionable 1 way, nan Cardinal way, and I person to set to it. It’s not that hard. Do everything correct and respect each other. That’s it."
Contreras saw nan absolute highs and lows erstwhile he was successful Chicago, starting pinch that title twelvemonth successful 2016. Contreras was only successful his first twelvemonth pinch nan squad erstwhile they had nan likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Aroldis Chapman and others that made a awesome tally to postseason glory.
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But successful nan years following, nan Cubs slow moved down nan powerfulness rankings successful MLB. Then-GM Theo Epstein gave his each to break nan Cubs’ drought of nary World Series titles, and erstwhile that was complete, galore saw nan diminution coming. It didn’t hap correct away, arsenic nan Cubs went backmost to nan NLCS successful 2017, wherever they would suffer to nan Los Angeles Dodgers.
Since then, nan Cubs person made 2 wild-card games, only to suffer both. In nan past 2 seasons, nan Cubs person been good beneath .500 pinch a 74-88 grounds successful 2022 and 71-91 successful 2021.
Cubs teammates, from left, Willson Contreras, Aroldis Chapman and Anthony Rizzo observe aft crippled 5 of nan World Series against nan Cleveland Indians, Oct. 30, 2016, successful Chicago. (AP)
That made nan Cubs sellers, which is ne'er what players want to spot from an statement because that intends they person nary dream successful show for nan postseason. Contreras was among those progressive successful waste and acquisition rumors, and while Bryant and Rizzo yet recovered caller homes, Contreras rode it retired until nan extremity erstwhile he was group to deed free agency.
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Now pinch nan Cardinals, Contreras is expected to beryllium a powerfulness bat that tin besides play arsenic a changeless down location plate. Much has been said astir his protect skills, including his framing expertise which is inferior statistically to others successful nan convention (25th percentile according to Baseball Savant), but improvements tin ever beryllium made. St. Louis is besides expected to complete for nan NL Central title.
Willson Contreras poses during nan St. Louis Cardinals Photo Day astatine Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium connected Feb. 23, 2023, successful Jupiter, Florida. (Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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Being section rivals, Contreras will beryllium backmost astatine Wrigley Field this season, but he mightiness not get nan gracious cheer from nan Cubs religious erstwhile he takes nan section aft these comments.
Scott Thompson is simply a sports writer for Fox News Digital.