In Chicago players on many major teams have taken out full page ads or articles in local papers to say thank you to fans over the years. On October 3 Jason Heyward wrote a piece for The Players Tribune. I’ve read this piece many times over the last six weeks and it has given me the urge to write this thank you post for him and Contreras; even though Contreras still could return after testing the market.
Without Jason Heyward among others who have been gone since before the pandemic shortened season in 2020 and of course the old core of Javy, Tony, and Kris there is no way the Cubs would have ended their draught in 2016. Without him chances are the infamous rain delay players only meeting never happens and there’s no knowing if the Cubs still go on to win in after the short rain delay which has been heavily referred to as 108 years of tears from fans in heaven by sports reporters. Unfortunately though Jed Hoyer had to come clean and admit that signing Heyward was a bad idea. So, he played his last game a Cub back in July before missing the rest of the season with a knee issue. Thank you Jason for being a part of history and being a leader off the field motivating your teammates!
Then there is Willson Contreras. Last week he turned down the qualifying offer he was given and hit the market. Was that really goodbye though? He deserves more than a one year deal and Jed knows it. It would be very hard to see it but Contreras should give ownership and Jed the biggest middle finger ever and sign with St. Louis for one year with a player option for a second year or even a multiyear deal with opt outs after every season that allow the Cardinals to make him a qualifying offer if he opts out. It would be no surprise to me if after testing the market he signed a multiyear deal with full no trade clause and opt outs after each year to return to Wrigley for five years. Either way, thank you Willson for being the best Catcher to start for the Cubs in a really long time and having such a big role in all of the playoff runs this team had from 2015 thru 2020. If you do not return in free agency you will be greatly missed by us fans.
These two moves leave Kyle Hendricks and manager David Ross as the only two guys who were part of the team when the draught ended. That means it is time to look at who will be part of the “new core”. Over the weekend news broke that the Cubs are in extension talks with Nico Hoerner and the newly crowned Gold Glove outfielder Ian Happ. Also, in many interviews since mid-August as well as the end of season press conference Hoyer made it very clear that the Cubs will be buyers this off season. These are all things to watch closely thanks to the new playoff tournament that was created during the lockout last winter.
With that… the hot stove is finally starting to heat up!