Chicago Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras plays hero in his ‘Homecoming’ — and is ready to talk with Jade Hoyer at any time – Mercury News

Wilson Contreras met with Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer Vaughn on Friday morning for the first time since Hoyer decided on Tuesday to keep his All-Star catcher for the rest of the season.

“I saw him early in the morning when I was doing my workouts,” Contreras said after the Cubs’ 2-1 win against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field on Friday. “He just walked over to me and said ‘Hi.’

“But at any moment we would talk. Were here. That’s the most important thing.”

Whether Contreras will stay with the Cubs after the 2022 season is anyone’s guess, but he at least has about two months to explain to Hoyer why he deserves to be in the organization for longer.

Contreras let his bat do all the talking on Friday in what everyone called his “homecoming” game. His two-run home run in the eighth inning propelled the Cubs to a comeback win over the Marlins, breaking a five-game losing streak.

“I’m happy to be with the Cubs for the rest of the year,” Contreras said. “Why not? We have really good chemistry at the clubhouse, a really good fan base. I know it’s not a winning team right now, but I know at some point we will turn into a winning team.

“He has done a good job of enhancing the farm (system). I’ve been hearing a lot about the possibilities in the organization that are really exciting. Hopefully with time and experience they will be the best.”

Cubs fans showered Contreras with love before he went to bat in his first innings and again after Dylan Floro’s home run out in the eighth, with Nick Madrigal leading the innings with a single. Madrigal had the Cubs’ first hit of the game – a single from sixth off reliever Huskar Brazoban – going into the innings.

Justin Steele scored 10 runs in 4 innings while reliever Rowan Vick bowled 1 scoreless frame to secure the win.

But the day belonged to Contreras, who was embracing everyone watching, the last time he left Wrigley, assuming like everyone else, that he would be dealt with by Tuesday’s trading deadline.

“Last time was like saying goodbye, it was an emotional moment,” Contreras said. “Today was a really high-energy moment.”

Hoyer, who was not available Friday – he is due to speak with reporters next week – said via Zoom call on Tuesday that he was with Contreras and Ian Happ because he did not think the return being offered was worth the price. was worth It’s hard to imagine the Cubs wouldn’t get enough talent back for a couple of All-Stars, and catching Contreras was an especially risky move if they didn’t sign him again. Hap had another year before becoming a free agent, so it was no surprise that he stayed.

Contreras hopes the story is over and he can return to normalcy for the final weeks of the lost season. He admitted that it was going through a worrying last month, especially in the last days. When he arrived in St. Louis on Wednesday—a day after the business deadline—he told his teammates “My eyes are tired right now. I just want to sleep somewhere.”

But after Friday’s game Contreras said he felt “more relaxed” and could focus on work. He still wants to win and build his figures to increase his value in the free-agent market.

Cubs fans have spoken out loud about their choice for Hoyer to retain Contreras, who has repeatedly stated that he also wants to stick with the rebuild in the first year. He told reporters in San Francisco last week: “I care a lot about winning. I know this team isn’t made to win this year – not even close. But I learned a lot from losing to this team as well.

It’s been a long season for the Cubs, and Contreras, more than anyone, has been through the grinder.

But he knows exactly where he wants to be, and he is still here.

Whenever Hoyer wants to talk, Contreras is ready to listen.


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