Wilson Contreras’ red-rimmed eyes welled up with tears.
For months, the Chicago Cubs All-Star catcher had been pondering his future. Free agency, the trade deadline, all the uncertainty after 13 years with the only major league organization he’s ever known – these were things to worry about later.
He was Retained since spring training That he was focusing on the present and taking things day by day, refusing to let his contract situation affect his performance or become a distraction in the clubhouse. Nothing seemed to bother Contreras until Monday night.
Loud cheers and “Wilson!” slogan of Contreras was greeted down the left field line as he stepped into the batter’s box for his final at-bat in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. His night ended by securing a strikeout for reliever Scott Ephros’ first save. For a moment, as Contreras congratulated Effross near the mound and they walked through the handshake line after the win, it felt like an ordinary victory. “Go Cubs Go” celebrated the Cubs’ season-high fifth straight victory for 37,342 fans.
But with a one-day game on Tuesday before the team embarks on a seven-game road trip that takes them. August 2 trade deadlineMonday night likely represents Contreras’ last start behind the plate as a Cub at Wrigley Field.
“It’s been a difficult two days for me,” Contreras said later. “I’m trying to appreciate everything about Wrigley Field, thinking about all the memories I’ve had here since 2016. … It’s probably my last home stand with the fans this year. It’s for me. It’s difficult.
“I knew it would get to me at some point. I wish this day never came. But this is a business. I know that. I respect that.”
Contreras stopped when he started choking.
“And I love my team,” he continued. “I love my teammates the most and I don’t want to get too attached because you never know what’s going to happen next week or this week in San Francisco. It’s been a tough, tough couple of days for me. “
Hours earlier, outfielder Ian Happ Addressed his unknown and future with the organization.will probably soon join the notable roster departures of the past three years.
“It’s crazy to think you can wake up one day and not be here,” Happ said. “It’s part of the game. It’s part of what we sign up for.”
The way Contreras lets his emotions show through his play is part of what makes him great. Manager David Ross has seen Contreras’ evolution from his debut in 2016 to what he achieved this year.
“He’s a special player. He’s a special guy, and he’s done special things here,” Ross said. “And watching him improve, not just as a player but as a teammate and a leader, those qualities have come through.”
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo Did not play memorably In the Cubs’ final home game before the trade deadline last year. Rizzo was dealt with by the time the team left for the airport that day. Bryant had his helmet on and was preparing to pinch hit when the game ended, one last loss at Wrigley.
Ross relished the idea of conspiring to keep the pair out of the lineup a day before Monday’s deadline, instead noting that it was “super organic” because one asked for the day off while the other had the day off. was
Contreras’ expected final chapter at Wrigley with the Cubs should put him in the lineup as the designated hitter on Tuesday. Expect another emotional day for one of the franchise’s most decorated catchers.