Willson Contreras, a long-time rival, could be signed to replace Yadier Molina by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Is Contreras, a World Series champion with the Chicago Cubs, a good fit for the Cardinals?
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As they look to replace Yadier Molina behind the plate, the St. Louis Cardinals could go in a number of different directions this offseason.
Signing longtime rival Willson Contreras and switching his Cubbie blue for Cardinal red is one of the most surprising options.
On Tuesday at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego, St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol gushed to the media about one quality in particular that the 30-year-old catcher might bring to the Gateway City if the Cardinals are able to sign him this offseason.
Contreras is regarded by Oliver Marmol as “a guy that loves to win,” which could benefit a clubhouse in desperate need of postseason victories.
“And earlier we talked about loving winning, and this is a guy that loves to win, who wakes up thinking about it, goes to sleep thinking about it,” Marmol said.
“And we’ve seen quite a bit across the way. And it’s a guy you don’t want to compete against because you know he’s pretty good. So, yeah, he’s a great competitor. And we respect his game.” He continued.
He slashed for a 128 OPS+ last season. With 22 home runs and 55 RBI, he hit 243/.349/.466. The Cardinals had the fourth-most home runs last season, while the Cubs had the second-most (behind Patrick Wisdom’s 25).
Marmol stated that recent conversations with Contreras have provided him with a better understanding of the catcher, whom he had previously only seen across the diamond during a heated NL Central rivalry.
Marmol said: “When you set aside everything from a competitive seeing him across the way, just having conversations with him, learning what kind of drives him, what motivates him, and what he’s looking for moving forward, it’s telling. Yes, we enjoy everything.”
The Cardinals were eliminated in the MLB postseason’s Wild Card round this October by the eventual National League champion Philadelphia Phillies, adding to a long list of postseason disappointments for a team that hasn’t won a postseason series since 2019 and hasn’t competed in a World Series since 2013. Could Contreras, who won a World Series with the Chicago Cubs, help to change that?
According to reports, both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros have made multi-year offers to the catcher, so the race for him is heating up. Is the Cardinals’ winning attitude enough of a differentiator to outbid the Astros and other teams?
Will the Cardinals prioritize catcher over other positions? There are numerous rumors circulating about the direction St. Louis may take this offseason, including the possibility of acquiring a big-name shortstop.