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Willson Contreras Rumors: Cardinals 'Among Favorites' to Land Cubs FA Catcher

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - OCTOBER 04: Wilson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run in the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on October 04, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly among the favorites to sign free-agent catcher Willson Contreras.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the news as the free-agency period continues to heat up.

Contreras, 30, hit .243/.349/.466 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI in 113 games last season while making his third All-Star team. The Venezuela native has spent his entire seven-year career with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cardinals are looking for a replacement for Yadier Molina, who retired after the 2022 season. Molina spent his entire 19-year career in St. Louis and was the team's primary catcher since 2005. He made 10 All-Star appearances and won nine Gold Gloves, making him a potential Hall of Famer.

It's unlikely the Cardinals will be able to find any catcher to fill those massive shoes, but Contreras would be a strong replacement. He's one of the sport's best power-hitting catchers, though he is not even remotely the same level of defensive mind as Molina.

The Cubs are unlikely to be a serious player to retain Contreras as they continue their roster rebuild. Chicago went just 74-88 in 2022 after going 71-91 the previous season.

The descent of the Cubs helped St. Louis retake its spot atop the NL Central for the first time since 2019.