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#pounditSunday, December 4, 2022

Beloved Cubs player could end up with hated rival?

Willson Contreras rounding the bases

Sep 7, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

A doomsday scenario may be unfolding for Chicago Cubs fans.

Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago reported on Sunday that the St. Louis Cardinals checked in on Cubs catcher Willson Contreras at the trade deadline and are expected to talk with him this winter. The 30-year-old Contreras can become a free agent after the 2022 season.

Contreras is a homegrown Cub who developed into a three-time All-Star, helped the team win the World Series in 2016, and is now one of their clubhouse leaders. That has made Contreras a well-loved local favorite.

As for the Cardinals, the Cubs’ most hated MLB rivals, they are looking for a new backstop with Yadier Molina set to retire after the year (though Andrew Knizner has already gotten a majority of the starts at catcher this season).

Wittenmyer also says that Contreras is expected to receive (and ultimately decline) a qualifying offer from the Cubs, which would make him free to sign with any team (provided that team gives the Cubs draft-pick compensation). If Contreras does decide to leave Chicago, he will not be the only remnant of that 2016 World Series team to do so.

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