Former Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will return to catching duties with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday as he will be behind the plate when starting pitcher Jack Flaherty takes the mound against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Last week, the Cardinals made a spectacle of their decision to remove Contreras from catching duties as their public discourse on the matter seemed to place the blame of the struggles from the Cardinals’ pitching staff on the former National League All-Star.
The idea was that Contreras would return to catching duties at some point later in the season once he became more familiar with the team’s pitching staff and the expectations that the Cardinals have for the catching position.
That goal must have been lost on Contreras as he revealed to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he did not change anything in regard to his approach as a catcher.
“Asked if he’s made changes to his preparation, Contreras told The Post-Dispatch, “It’s all the same. I don’t think I had to change anything. It’s my game. There were a couple of suggestions the pitchers made about the target, little lower, little higher, things like that makes them better which is cool. Nothing more than that.””
– Derrick Goold via The Post-Dispatch
The more that this story drags for the Cardinals, who are in month 2 of a five-year contract with Contreras, the more the Cubs should feel validated with their decisions.
If Contreras’ exit from the Cubs organization proved anything this past offseason, it is that he is stubborn and believes it is his way or the wrong way in regard to his catching ability. Contreras openly revealed that he would not share his notes with the Cubs in regard to his catching approach and comments like the one he made to The Post-Dispatch prove that stubbornness is still there.
Contreras is an All-Star caliber offensive player but is not an All-Star caliber catcher. The Cubs knew this fact and the rest of the baseball world is playing catchup as they watch the drama unfold between Contreras and the Cardinals.