MLB reduces Willson Contreras’ suspension to one game

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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.

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.