SAN DIEGO — After seeing Yadier Molina complete his 19-year run behind the plate in October, the St. Louis Cardinals needed to pivot this offseason to find the next chapter of the franchise’s extensive and deep catching history.
On Wednesday, the Cardinals did just that, inking former Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras to a reported five-year, $87.5 million contract. After calling Wrigley Field home for seven seasons, the 30-year-old Contreras will now inherit the hallowed ground behind home plate at Busch Stadium.
What the Willson Contreras signing means for the St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals were reportedly wowed by the winning attitude that had been displayed by Contreras in past Cubs-Cardinals matchups, and the respect for Contreras grew even more after in-person discussions this offseason. Not only do the Cardinals hope that Contreras can instill more power into the lineup this season, they also hope that he can be one of the answers for the franchise’s recent lack of postseason success.
St. Louis entered the offseason knowing that catcher would be the top priority, and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak ended up with the most-wanted free agent catcher on the market. It’s a big win for St. Louis, and a big loss for the Houston Astros, who were reportedly the other team that had offered a multi-year deal for Contreras. Now will the Astros pivot and try to work a trade for Oakland A’s catcher Sean Murphy?
With the contact, Contreras will be a Cardinal through his age-35 season, meaning the continuity that has happened for St. Louis behind the plate with Molina, Mike Matheny, Tom Pagnozzi, Darrell Porter, and Tim McCarver will once again be at a high level in the Gateway City.
Yes, there is more for the Cardinals to do this offseason, but landing Contreras not only accomplishes the team’s number one goal, but also does it in a very impressive and long-lasting way.