ST. LOUIS ( Associated Press) – For the first time in more than 18 seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals will have a new starting catcher.
Venezuela’s Wilson Contreras has signed a five-year contract and the club will have the option of a sixth in 2028, the team announced at a press conference on Friday.
“Wilson is a proven All-Star player who has the drive to win every day,” said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals.
“The Cardinals have a long history of outstanding receivers, and we believe Wilson has the ability to inscribe his name on that elite list for the coming season.”
Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. A person familiar with the talks previously told The Associated Press that the deal was for five seasons and $87.5 million.
Contreras, 30, batted .243 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI in 113 games last season with the Chicago Cubs.
He debuted with the Cubs in 2016 and won the World Series as a rookie, an experience he wants to replicate with his new team.
“I came here because I know the history of the team,” Contreras said. “I know this is a club that wants to win and the entire organization is focused on one goal: getting back to the World Series.”
Contreras replaced Yadier Molina, who made 10 All-Star Games during his 19-year career with the Cardinals.
“We all know who he is, the best catcher of the last two decades, future Hall of Famer, first out,” said Contreras, who is the starting catcher for the National League team in All-Star Games in MLB. was. 2018, 2019 and 2022.
“However I came here to be Wilson Contreras. It is an honor for me to be the successor to the Hall of Famer behind the plate. It is a huge responsibility that I believe in, and I know that every time I step onto the pitch So I give my 100 per cent to win that day.
Mozeliak and Oliver Marmol first met Contreras on November 30 in Orlando. The club began talks with Contreras’ agent, Scott Puccino, on Monday and the two sides reached an agreement on Tuesday night.
Last season, the Cardinals’ catchers collectively batted .209 with 9 home runs, 48 RBI and .552 OPS, 29th among 30 MLB teams.
“It’s important to add that hitting to our lineup,” Marmol said.
The Venezuelan had a .256 offensive ERA with 117 home runs and 365 RBI in 734 games over seven seasons. He had the best number of home runs in 2019, 24, and had the highest number of RBIs in 2017, 74.
Contreras was one of the last remaining members of the Cubs team that won the 2016 World Series. Kyle Hendricks is the only active player from that team still with Chicago.