It only took two months for the St. Louis Cardinals to find Yadier Molina’s successor at the catcher position, as they came to terms with Willson Contreras on a five-year, $87.5 million contract deal during the annual MLB Winter Meetings.
Contreras received interest from multiple teams over the past week. He was linked with the likes of the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros for a possible free agent deal, but in the end, he opted to stay put in the National League Central by signing a multiyear contract with the Cardinals.
Contreras’ run with the Chicago Cubs came to an end after seven seasons, where he recorded 117 home runs and 365 RBI in 734 total regular season games played. The veteran catcher earned three All-Star Game nods while with the team, and he played an instrumental role in its World Series-winning run in 2016.
On Friday, the Cubs’ official Twitter account took a look back at Contreras’ most memorable moments from his seven-season stint in Chicago.
For your passion, your heart, your leadership.
For 14 years in the Cubs organization.
Thank you, Willson. pic.twitter.com/63Z0CpRUxE
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 9, 2022
Contreras now has his sights set on aiming to make the most out of his upcoming run with the Cardinals. In the big picture, Contreras, as he noted to the Players’ Tribune, is not looking to replace Molina in St. Louis.
“First things first: No one could ever replace Yadier Molina,” Contreras said. “We all know that. It’s impossible. Actually, if there’s some word that means even more than the word impossible … that’s what it is. Yadier Molina is a legend.”
Overall, Contreras is looking forward to playing on a Cardinals team that is filled with stout hitters across the board, including the 2022 National League MVP Award winner in Paul Goldschmidt.
“This is a [Cardinals] team that’s built to win,” Contreras said. “They’re built to win now, and they’re built to win in the future, too. It’s a team that’s consistent and this roster is filled with amazing players — Arenado, Goldschmidt, Edman, Gorman, all those pitchers … I could go on and on. It’s just super exciting to me.
“I can’t wait to get to spend time and get to know them and start working toward a world championship.”
It will be noteworthy to see just what the reigning NL Central champions plan to do next in the ongoing free agency period.