Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Willson Contreras: “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].”

10 Comments

The Cubs held their annual Cubs Convention over the weekend. There, catcher Willson Contreras explained that he used to study fellow catchers Yadier Molina and Buster Posey, but that isn’t the case anymore. Via Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times, Contreras said, “I used to watch a lot of those guys, but now I’m watching myself because I know that I’m going to be better than them. That’s my plan. That’s my [mindset].”

Contreras, 25, has had a solid first two seasons in the big leagues. Across 193 games, he has hit .278/.356/.494 with 33 home runs and 109 RBI in 711 plate appearances. He also graded out well defensively according to various metrics, including those found at Baseball Reference and FanGraphs. His 3.2 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs, ranked fifth among the 33 catchers that had at least 300 plate appearances. He trailed Gary Sanchez, Posey, J.T. Realmuto, and Mike Zunino. Molina had an uncharacteristically average season, ranking 14th in WAR.

What are the odds Contreras has a better 2018 than Molina and Posey? The Steamer projections, found at FanGraphs, see Posey with an .833 OPS and 4.6 WAR, Contreras with an .811 OPS and 3.0 WAR, and Molina with a .742 OPS and 2.6 WAR. All it would take for Contreras to surpass Posey’s projected numbers is to perform a bit better than expected, which isn’t an unreasonable thought for a 25-year-old who has already found success against major league competition and has 27 games’ worth of postseason experience under his belt.

Contreras said, “In my mind, I want to be the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.” He will have some competition for that honor, not only with Posey, but with Gary Sanchez and J.T. Realmuto, among others. Contreras added that his main goal for the 2018 season is to stay healthy. “Hopefully, this year I can make the All-Star team,” he said.

In almost all circumstances, especially within the world of sports, too much confidence is better than too little, so the Cubs have to be happy with how Contreras is feeling about himself with spring training on the horizon.

Report: J.D. Martinez signing delayed by medical issue

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.

For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.

While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”