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Willson Contreras didn’t walk the Chicago Cubs off on Wednesday night, but he deserves an RBI for how he helped Christopher Morel at the plate.
To say it hasn’t been a great season for the Chicago Cubs is to dramatically undersell just how terrible things are.
The soft rebuild that the Cubs front office sold to fans last year has been a complete disaster — or has gone exactly the way fans expected it to when it was pitched. The Cubs are one of the worst teams in baseball, which is what you’d expect from a team devoid of star talent.
Not everything is bad at Wrigley, however. Despite how dreadful the season has been, Willson Contreras has been a bright spot for a number of reasons. Not only is he the last bastion of the World Series core, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by his approach to the team that things are going so badly.
This week saw a perfect example of why Contreras has both become a fan favorite and clubhouse leader during his time with the team.
As Christopher Morel stepped to the plate in the 10th inning of a tie game against the hated Milwaukee Brewers, he had a guardian angel of sorts on his shoulder. Jayson Heyward was on base, representing the tying run, meaning Morel wasn’t just stepping to the plate but stepping into a clutch moment.
That’s when he turned to look at Contreras in the on-deck circle who helped him in ways that are rare to see in a clubhouse leader.
Deep breath from Contreras, deep breath from Morel, game-winning run crosses the plate a few moments later.
How cool is that?
It’s a tad bittersweet, however. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that Contreras will be dealt at the trade deadline as the Cubs sell the last remaining piece of their World Series core to the highest bidder.
Unlike how the Cubs seemingly botched the trades involving Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javy Baez, the return for Contreras may end up being better than anything Chicago received at the deadline last season. Not only is Contreras playing extremely well this season, but the appeal of a contending team trading for him also lies in his clubhouse leadership skills.
Take one look at his interaction with Morel to see all you need to know about the impact he can have on his teammates and in clutch moments — even when he’s not the one at the plate.