Cubs’ Willson Contreras on trade deadline: ‘I just want it over’

By on August 1, 2022 0

SAN FRANCISCO — Reality hit Willson Contreras after the final pitch. The Cubs’ 4-0 loss to the Giants on Sunday might have been his last game in a Cubs uniform.

“Tomorrow is another day,” Contreras said. “We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a long day. It’s been a long, long week – a long, long month for me.

The trade deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday before the Cubs open a three-game series at St. Louis. And the team has a day off Monday, a Contreras plans to fill up with video games, maybe a trip to the pool.

“Do something different than check my phone,” Contreras said. “We’ll see what happens.”

It’s been easier said than done to keep your mind free of thoughts about trading delays recently, with reports from multiple teams – the Padres and Mets to name a few – showing an interest in negotiating for Counterras.

Manager David Ross spent much of the year praising Contreras for how he managed to avoid contract distractions. But the past week, which began with an emotional farewell tour at Wrigley Field, turned up the intensity.

“It’s just hard,” Contreras said, “because whenever you have a bit of free time or free time, your mind goes straight to rumors. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I won’t lie.

Contreras spoke to Ross about the stress of the moment. He finished the month with a .149 batting average in July.

“I just want it to be over,” Contreras said. “If they’re going to trade me, they’re going to trade me. If they don’t want to trade me, they don’t. But I just want this day to pass and keep my focus on baseball.

One way or another, he will have clarity on his future by Tuesday night. He’s not completely ruling out the possibility that he’s still on the Cubs’ roster after the deadline. But more likely, he’ll don a new jersey on a team with the playoffs in sight.

This is not where this club is heading, the one in which he has spent his entire career.

“I know this team is not made to win this year,” he said of the 41-60 Cubs. “Not even close. But I also learned a lot from this team, losing. I learned a lot.”

While he was candid about the direction of the club, Contreras had nothing but praise for his teammates. And in interview after interview this week, his teammates made it clear that the admiration was mutual.

This weekend, right-hander Marcus Stroman called him a “cornerstone of the franchise.”

“Willson will be missed by all of us,” Stroman said. “He’s still in our team, but it’s almost like you know what’s going to happen with the hugs and stuff, how it was at Wrigley the last homestand. We’re very grateful to him. I think he’ll be awesome. I think his career is just getting started, to be honest with you.

Righty Kyle Hendricks, who has played with Contreras since 2016, also spoke highly of him.

“What he did for me I can’t even put into words,” Hendricks said. “He’s been my guy for over six years now. We threw together, how well we know each other now — and there’s, like, this unspoken language. We can just look at each other now.

“So that’s something so special that I’ve never had with another receiver in my career. And so he’s definitely one of my favorite teammates, one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. And we really respect each other and what we’ve been able to do in those years.

Now all that remains is to wait.

“I’m really grateful for the time I spent here,” Contreras said. “But obviously this game shows you that it’s not about feelings; it’s a matter of business.