Willson Contreras “wasn’t bothered at all” by trade speculation during the offseason, and if anything, the catcher was flattered by other teams’ interest. “The rumors didn’t bother me,” Contreras told The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney and other reporters. “It’s the other way — those rumors make me proud because of where I come from, everything that I’ve done to be where I’m at….I went through it relaxed because if I got traded, I know that I’m ready to play anywhere and everywhere.”
Like fellow Cubs teammates Javier Baez and Kris Bryant have stated in recent days, Contreras would welcome any extension talks with the team, saying “obviously, I’m willing to listen to whatever they have.” Baez and Bryant are entering their final season before free agency while Contreras is under team control through 2022, so Chicago may not quite have as much urgency to explore a longer-term deal with the catcher just yet, though it would be surprising if the Cubs didn’t at least broach the subject with Contreras and his representatives this spring. Contreras said that he is “just not thinking about” contract talks for now, as “my main focus is on this year.”
More from the NL Central…
- Cardinals righty Miles Mikolas “will be pushed back just a little bit” from his first outing of the spring, manager Mike Shildt told reporters (including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Mikolas was scheduled to pitch during a simulated game on Monday, after throwing some live batting practice to teammates last week. “For now it’s caution,” Shildt said, and a team official told Goold that there is “very low” concern about Mikolas for the time being, yet any sort of setback has to considered notable considering that Mikolas missed the entire 2020 season. The right-hander ultimately decided to undergo surgery last August to fix a damaged right flexor tendon, after getting PRP injections both after the 2019 season and in February 2020, and then trying to work through the injury during both the shutdown and in Summer Camp. The Cards were already planning to bring Mikolas along rather slowly in order to build up his readiness for the start of the season, and it remains to be seen if this latest issue could delay his recovery plan.
- Injuries and a positive COVID-19 test prevented Luis Urias from getting any preseason time at shortstop last year, so the Brewers will give the youngster plenty of looks at the position during Spring Training. The larger question, as The Athletic’s Will Sammon examines, is whether or not this will result in Urias becoming the Brew Crew’s regular shortstop once the season actually begins. Milwaukee has built a lot of flexibility into the left side of its infield, as Urias, Orlando Arcia, and Daniel Robertson can all play either shortstop or third base, while Travis Shaw is also an option at the hot corner. Shaw can play first base as well, and Arcia also said that he is preparing to work out as a center fielder. Arcia made a single appearance in center field (the first of professional career) last season, playing four innings at the position on August 12 in a 12-2 loss to the Twins.