Last month it was reported that former Blue Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi had signed on with a talent agency, looking to get a TV gig. They did a good job, it seems, as Ricciardi was just hired by ESPN to replace Steve Phillips as their GM-in-residence on “Baseball Tonight.”
I thought ESPN’s baseball coverage hit a low point when they had Phillips pretend to be a real GM and answer Buster Olney’s questions in a phony press conference five years ago. With Ricciardi on the team, however, they can sink even further if they try. How? They can set him up in a phony press conference and have him lie to the phony reporter!
SAN DIEGO — Willson Contreras is going to St. Louis to replace Yadier Molina at catcher, agreeing to an $87.5 million, five-year contract with the Cardinals on Wednesday.
A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical.
The addition of Contreras fills a major void for St. Louis, which won the NL Central this season with a 93-69 record. Molina retired after spending his entire 19-year career with the Cardinals, making 10 All-Star teams and winning nine Gold Gloves.
Contreras was one of the Chicago Cubs’ last holdovers from their 2016 World Series championship. He made his big league debt that year and helped the franchise to its first title since 1908.
The fiery, strong-armed catcher hit .243 with 22 homers and 55 RBIs in 113 games in his last season with his first major league team. He was on the market this summer — leading to an emotional day at Wrigley Field for what looked like his final home game with Chicago — but he remained with the team after the trade deadline.
Contreras was the best option in a thin market for free agent catchers that also included Christian Vázquez and Gary Sánchez.
Contreras also has played first base, third base and the corner outfield spots in the majors. The three-time All-Star made 39 starts at designated hitter this year.
The Venezuela native is a .256 hitter with 117 homers and 365 RBIs in 734 career games over seven seasons. He hit a career-best 24 homers in 2019 and drove in a career-high 74 runs in 2017.