MLB teams have the chance to extend qualifying offers to their own free agents (for one year, worth just under $20 million) as long as they spent the whole season with them and hadn’t gotten one before.
The Chicago Cubs obviously extended the offer to Contreras because by doing so, they make sure they get draft pick compensation should he reject it and sign elsewhere.
The player, however, decided to decline.
“A lot of decisions on qualifying offers today won’t come as a surprise, including this one: Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is not accepting his, per a source,” ESPN’s Jesse Rogers tweeted.
A lot of decisions on qualifying offers today won't come as a surprise, including this one: Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is not accepting his, per a source.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) November 15, 2022
Contreras is 30 years old and coming off a solid season.
He is also a catcher, and a good one at that: he has made three All-Star teams, including this year.
He has everything to look for a lucrative long-term deal, just probably not in Chicago.
An Excellent All-Around Catcher
Contreras had his fourth season with more than 20 home runs and 20 doubles in 2022.
That kind of offensive production from a catcher is both rare and enticing for MLB organizations.
The 2016 World Series champion slashed .243/.346/.466 this past season.
He happens to be a solid defensive catcher, too, although his best days behind the plate might be behind him.
The Cubs opted not to trade him before the deadline this year, which was definitely seen as an odd development.
However, at least they won’t stay with their hands empty if he signs with another team: they will get at least a high draft pick.
Chicago fans love Contreras, and he loves them back.
He was emotional when saying goodbye to their teammates ahead of a hypothetical trade before the deadline.
With the Cubs apparently not looking to bring him back, however, it appears his future is in another city.