Exactly one week after ripping his team for a lack of effort, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras spoke loudest with his bat in a ninth-inning, comeback win on the road Saturday.
“We talked about it last week and they understood my point,” Contreras said. “It’s already over.”
Saturday in Arizona, a game that looked over with two outs in the top of the ninth, Contreras capped off a four-pitch rally by blasting a go-ahead, two-run home run. The Cubs went on to win 4-2.
It’s not going to stop what happens between now and the July 30 trade deadline. In fact, that process already started, when the Cubs traded Joc Pederson to the Braves on Thursday.
Contreras, who’s eligible to hit free agency next winter, will certainly generate interest from other teams in the next two weeks.
But, if anything, it might have underscored Contreras’ value to a club that has interest in extending him.
“He's a big part of this team and I feel whenever he's out there, we’ve got a chance to win every game,” said Adbert Alzolay, Saturday’s starter.
A week ago, in a 12-hour span, Contreras ripped the team following a 6-0 loss to the Cardinals in which he speculated they were "distracted" as the All-Star break neared.
Manager David Ross did damage control as the break came early because of a rainout. By the time they got back together from the break, the selloff was underway, as the Cubs opened a series against the worst team in baseball.
“We’re just starting from zero,” Contreras said of moving past the fallout from last weekend. “I told my guys, ‘Let’s start from zero. Let's do it, because I believe in this team. I believe in the talent that we have.’”
None of them can know how much of that will remain after July 30.
“We’re looking forward to competing and competing to the last out, like today,” Contreras said. “When we’re competing, we’re tough to beat.
“That’s the mindset that I'm trying to create with my teammates and to this team especially. I believe in each and every one my teammates.”