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Cubs’ Willson Contreras wants to know he can win if expansion is offered – NBC Chicago

By on May 24, 2021 0

No tanks: Contreras wants to win if the Cubs want him to stay originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

ST. LOUIS – Kris Bryant, Javy Báez, Anthony Rizzo.

When it comes to Chicago Cubs lead players and possible contract extensions, this trio seems to be all everyone is talking about.

“It’s good,” said wide receiver Willson Contreras. “I don’t feel bad because they don’t talk about me.”

Maybe they should.

Contreras is only a year behind this impending free agent class of top-tier teammates – and he could be as important a part of the All-Star core as any of them.

“I’m just focused on playing baseball well,” he says. “I’m not worried about where I’m going to end up. I’m not worried about where I’m going to go.

Which might make the Cubs start to worry.

Because Contreras also wants to win.

And in a conversation over the weekend with NBC Sports Chicago, the wide receiver who started the last two National League All-Star games said it would make a difference in whether he wants to stay if the Cubs l ‘approach, as they did. others, about an extension.

“I love to win,” he said. “I would love to make it to the playoffs a few more times and make it to the World Series at least two or three more times in my career. So this is a thorough assessment that I should do, that [we’d] have to talk. It’s going to be a long conversation: “Who are we going to have on our team, who are we going to keep, who are we negotiating for, who are we signing for?”

“I look forward to these kinds of conversations for sure.”

This is where the three All-Star teammates who may become free agents after this season could play a role in whether Contreras would even consider signing long-term.

The Cubs have previously failed in their efforts to extend these three countries despite repeated claims by all three that they want to stay. This included a lowball offer to Rizzo this spring that could have had as much to do with financially finicky property anticipating contentious labor negotiations this year as any front office regression model.

What if all three end up being traded or set off next winter in free agency – signaling yet another multi-year rebuild?

“It’s really hard to imagine a team without these three guys,” Contreras said. “One or two of them probably won’t be here. … But to think of a team without Javy, without Rizzo, without Bryant, it’s really hard. These are three special keys that we have in this team. “

Arguably Contreras is a more important key than any of them to what he does for pitching staff, as a midrange hitter and as a Gold Glove finalist for a position. where talent is scarce – not to mention playing a major playoff role for the 2016 champions just months after making his big-league debut.

The Cubs have discussed Contreras as a potential MVP internally for the past few seasons.

He’s making $ 6.65 million this year with another winter of officiating eligibility.

By comparison, another two-time All-Star, JT Realmuto, signed a five-year, $ 115.5 million contract with the Phillies as the top free agent receiver last winter.

If the Cubs plan to keep their elite receiver as a staple for the next championship window, it could take more than a fair market offer; sending a message that they intend to open this window as soon as possible may need to be taken seriously.

And it could be taken seriously to keep at least one or two of this year’s standby free agents – all of whom show their competitive value during the Cubs’ unexpected surge over the past month, including Bryant looking like an early contender. MVP and Báez in the lead. a historically loaded free agent shortstop class in the OPS after its victorious homerun Sunday in St. Louis.

“We have to keep this core together,” said Contreras, who loves Chicago and said his “door is open” to extension talks.

“If it was my wish, this [core] would stay the same, especially with the young talent coming up and some of the pitchers coming up, ”he said. “I think they have a lot of talent.

“If we can keep the same core for a few more years, it will again be a very special team.”

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