Willson Contreras hasn't ruled out possibility of returning to Cubs in 2023 on qualifying offer


(670 The Score) Cubs catcher Willson Contreras knows what he wants for his long-term future – a lucrative new contract on a club where he feels he’s wanted – but he also hasn’t ruled out returning to Chicago on a qualifying offer in 2023. Because as he put it, his future is tied to how the free-agent market plays out.

“I wouldn’t be offended (by getting a qualifying offer), because it’s part of the business,” Contreras said Tuesday. “I think that’s the reason why my price at the trade deadline was really high. Because they knew by making the qualifying offer, they can get a first-round pick. It’s all part of the business. I talked to my agent about it. We’re going to think about that.”

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So you’d consider accepting a qualifying offer from the Cubs?

“At this point, I’m not going to give you an answer,” Contreras said. “We’re going to wait and see what’s next, but we have to consider it.”

Contreras added he has thought a lot about his future lately, as he’s set to become a free agent at season’s end. The Cubs surprisingly held onto him at the trade deadline this past summer. If they extend a qualifying offer – which was worth $18.4 last offseason – for the 2023 season and Contreras declines it, they’ll receive draft pick compensation. If he accepts it, they’d have a good starting catcher for next season.

Contreras, 30, is hitting .246 with 21 homers, 54 RBIs and an .822 OPS in 107 games entering play Tuesday.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about it, for my free agency,” Contreras said. “I know what I want, for sure. But at the same time, I don’t control the market. I think the market will speak for itself, and we’re going to adjust to it and see what happens.

Contreras was activated from the injured list Tuesday after dealing with a left ankle sprain. He was excited for this final six-game homestand, knowing it could be his last experience at Wrigley Field as a Cub.

“I’m just going to go out there and have fun,” Contreras said. “It was really important for me to come back and play these last series at home. Like, we don’t know (what the future holds). I’ve been here for 14 years (with this organization) and we don’t know if it’s a real goodbye or just for a moment, a few months. I’m just looking forward to going out there and having fun with my teammates.”

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