SAN DIEGO ( Associated Press) – Wilson Contreras will move to St. Louis to replace Yadier Molina as catcher after reaching an $87.5 million, five-year deal with the Cardinals.
A person familiar with the talks confirmed the operation Wednesday night in statements to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement won’t be official until rigorous medical tests are completed.
The inclusion of Contreras fills a significant hole in the roster for St. Louis, which won the NL Central pennant this season with a 93-69 record. Molina retired after a 19-year career with the Cardinals, where he was a 10-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner.
Contreras was one of the last players remaining on the Chicago Cubs that won the 2016 World Series. He made his major league debut that year and helped lead the franchise to its first crown since 1908.
With an intense character and tremendous arm, the catcher hit .243 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI in 113 games in his final season, his first for the major league club.
He was on the trade market this summer, which led to an emotional day at Wrigley Field in what seemed like his last home game with Chicago. However, he remained with the team after the trade deadline.
The 30-year-old Venezuelan received a qualifying offer of $19.65 million from Chicago but turned it down.
Contreras was the best option in a market that was not heavily supplied with receivers, which also included Puerto Rican Christian Vazquez and Dominican Gary Sánchez.
In the majors, Contreras has also played first base, third base, and right and left fields. A three-time All-Star, he started 39 games as the designated hitter this year.
The player from Puerto Cabello is hitting .256 for life with 117 homers and 365 RBI in 734 games over seven seasons. He hit a career-high 24 home runs in 2019 and had a career-high 74 runs in 2017.
Jay Cohen is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jcohenap