Contreras Feels 'Blessed' To Still Be With Cubs

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By 670 The Score
MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- With the start of spring training looming, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras on Monday admitted that listening to his name be included in trade rumors all offseason began to wear on him.

Contreras dealt with the speculation in a number of ways -- by using his sense of humor, by displaying patience, by ignoring social media at times and and by having an open dialogue with his agent.

"I was playing around with social media," Contreras said of changing his Twitter profile picture to a shot of him in an All-Star jersey amid the speculation. "I wasn't trying to play around with the Cubs. I wasn't being mean.

"My agent helped me a lot with that. He told me to understand this is a business, and it doesn't mean they don't like me anymore. Now that I am here in spring training, I feel blessed to be here. I also feel blessed to have one more season with the Cubs."

Contreras, 27, has made a point to shut out the trade speculation lately. He knows he has no control over whether he stays with the Cubs or is traded elsewhere.

"This is just a part of the baseball business," he said. "I have been here 11 years now. No one has been here that long. I am blessed to be here, as I said. Even if I get traded, I will always love the Cubs."

Contreras, 27, was having arguably t his best season of his career before suffering a hamstring strain early last August, an injury that sidelined him for nearly a month. It was the second time in three seasons that a hamstring injury had cost Contreras a significant chunk of time.

Contreras hit .272 with 24 homers, 64 RBIs and an .888 OPS in 105 games in 2019. He's under team control through 2022. 

While the Cubs have been under a spending freeze of sorts this offseason, Contreras remains open to long-term extension talks, he said.

"We will want to always be open to signing an extension with the Cubs," Contreras said. "My agent and I talk a lot about it. We just have to wait until the right time to talk about that."

So when might it be a good time to discuss an extension?

"I don 't know -- maybe after the season," Contreras said. "Who knows for sure. It might be midseason. I think if they want to talk about it, it must be before spring training ends or even after (the 2020 season). If it's after, maybe it's better."

Contreras is far from the only Cubs player who has found himself amid the rumor mill. Star third baseman Kris Bryant has been the focus of trade speculation all offseason.

"KB is our MVP and star third baseman," Contreras said. "We have to trust the front office, because they know what they are doing. Even if the trade KB, we will get a huge trade for him. We all love KB and hope he is not traded."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.