Willson Contreras’ emotional goodbye to Cubs at Wrigley Field

With the Cubs about to embark on a seven-game road trip and the MLB trade deadline a week away, it’s likely Willson Contreras has played his final game at Wrigley Field in a Cubs uniform.

Contreras is one of just six remaining players from Chicago’s 2016 World Series team. The Mets are reportedly one of the teams interested in the 30-year-old three-time All-Star catcher, but even if Contreras doesn’t end up in New York it’s almost certain he will end up somewhere other than the friendly confines.

Even Contreras, who was a rookie in 2016, seemed to realize that he was saying goodbye on Tuesday to the only organization he has ever known.

As “Go Cubs, Go” blared from the Wrigley speakers after the Cubs’ 4-2 win over the Pirates — their sixth in a row — Tuesday afternoon, an emotional Contreras embraced many of his teammates. If it wasn’t goodbye, it sure felt like it.

Willson Contreras waves to the Wrigley Field crowd following the Cubs’ 4-2 win on Tuesday.
Cubs fans paid tribute to Willson Contreras on Tuesday.
Cubs fans paid tribute to Willson Contreras on Tuesday.

That was the case on Monday night, too.

A chant of “Willson!” broke out when Contreras stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth against Pittsburgh. Tears filled his eyes.

“It’s been a tough couple days for me,” Contreras told reporters on Monday. “I’m trying to appreciate everything Wrigley Field is, thinking about all the memories that I have here since 2016. … This is probably my last homestand with the fans this year. It’s tough for me.

“I knew it would get to me at some point. I wish this day never came. But it’s a business. I know that. I respect that.”

If Tuesday was Contreras’ final game at Wrigley, it’ll go down as a 1-for-4 effort with a run scored while playing DH. On the year, he’s slashing .258/.374/.473 with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs and is not just one of the best hitting catchers in the game but one of the best hitters period with a strong arm to go with it.

He also might not be the only player to be headed out of town.

Willson Contreras, rear, hugs teammate Ian Happ after defeating the Pirates on Tuesday.
Willson Contreras, rear, hugs teammate Ian Happ after defeating the Pirates on Tuesday.

Ian Happ has been the subject of trade rumors as well as the Cubs continue their rebuild. Though he said he doesn’t want his Cubs journey to end, it may be doing so soon. The 27-year-old outfielder put his cap over his heart and waved to the fans in the outfield before jogging off the field.

Happ, who made his Cubs debut in 2017, went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. He’s slashing .282/.367/.445 with nine home runs, 44 RBIs and 43 runs and made his first appearance in the All-Star Game this year.

Reliever David Robertson is also likely to be dealt. The 37-year-old right-handed reliever was given a second straight day off from relief duty on Tuesday.

Robertson, who has 14 saves, a 1.83 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings this season, has also been rumored to be part of a potential deal involving the Mets.

After Tuesday’s victory, Contreras and Happ embraced the moment and each other.

“I love you all,” Contreras said to fans while being interviewed by Marquee Sports Network. “Thanks for everything you guys did for me, my family.

“I wish I could play for you guys, but this is a business I understand that. I love you all.”

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