Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras has received a reduced suspension for his altercation with home plate umpire Jordan Baker, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reported Sunday. Contreras was initially slated to sit out for two games, but he appealed the ruling yesterday and will only serve a one-game suspension. He’ll take a seat on Sunday when the Cubs go for the sweep in their series finale against the Cardinals.
The 25-year-old backstop was fined and suspended for arguing balls and strikes and inadvertently hitting home plate umpire Jordan Baker with his mask during Friday’s 8-2 win. Both Contreras and right-hander John Lackey were also ejected and fined for their actions. While Baker’s misread of a called strike three sparked a heated dispute at the time, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon told reporters that the catcher was nothing but remorseful as the team suited up for Saturday’s game.
“[Contreras] was dying to talk to him,” Maddon said. “He could not wait. He motioned to [Baker] from the dugout. When he got to third base, going first to third, I saw the exchange and they were both smiling.”
Without Contreras, the Cubs will turn to Alex Avila behind the dish. Avila is in his first season with the club after a midseason trade from the Tigers and is batting a cumulative .269/.388/.461 with 14 home runs and an .849 OPS through 357 PA this year.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.