The St. Louis Cardinals have found their replacement for the spot vacated by longtime catcher Yadier Molina and inked free agent Willson Contreras on a five-year, $87.5 million deal on Wednesday, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN’s Jeff Passan With.
Contreras, 30, has spent the last 14 seasons in the rival Chicago Cubs organization. In seven MLB seasons, he has hit .256 with 117 homers and 365 RBIs.
Known for his strong arm, Contreras has dealt with criticism of his game calling, but that may have been overkill. He helped oversee a Cubs pitching team that went into the postseason five out of six years from 2015-2020.
Contreras can also play left field and first base and will likely get some replays as a hitter-designated when he’s not behind the plate.
He compiled 128 OPS+ in 113 games for the Cubs last season but is the only free-agent catcher with a draft pick allowance after Chicago made him a qualifying offer.
Molina retired after a career that spanned 19 seasons with the majors, all with the Cardinals. The 10-time All-Star catcher was a two-time World Series Champion and won nine Gold Glove Awards and one Silver Slugger Award while recording 2,168 hits.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35204413/source-cardinals-willson-contreras-reach-5-year-875m-deal Cardinals, Willson Contreras reach 5-year, $87.5M deal