(670 The Score) Amid an uncertain future with the organization and his team’s brutal 10-game losing streak, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is leaning on advice from a former teammate and a new one.
"I learned from my old teammate Pedro Strop and my young teammate Christopher Morel that it doesn't matter if you are having a good or bad day, you should always have a smile on your face,” Contreras said. “I learned that from them, and I try to keep my attitude – even in a bad stretch – to confront everything that is happening right now. I feel like when you put the focus on free agency or trade rumors, you are putting the focus on something besides baseball.”
Contreras, 30, is in the final year of his contract with the Cubs, and the sides have had no movement toward a long-term extension. That fact makes Contreras a prime candidate to be traded ahead of the deadline on Aug. 2, and his elite performance has only increased the interest he’s drawing from across the league.
Contreras is having the best season of his career, hitting .276 with 12 homers, 26 RBIs and a .932 OPS in 54 games.
"Even if they have talked, I haven't been told anything by him yet,” Contreras said of the dialogue between his agent and the Cubs. “I told my agent, ‘Do the best job you can do and let me know.’ Really, I don't think they have communicated yet. I told him if he thinks something can be worked out, I want to know. I did tell him I am not focused on that. I am focused on staying healthy and being there to try to help this team win every day. I love my team, and I feel this is my place.
“I don't want my team to be distracted by me. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I am good with that. My team focus is trying to help win a game each day even though we are going through a tough time right now.”
As the Cubs have fallen to 23-40 and are tied for the fourth-worst record in MLB, Contreras aims to keep his head held high.
"It's really tough right now,” Contreras said. “I go back to what Stropy would tell me, and that is the only thing you can control is how you go about your business day in and day out. If I see people not doing things right, I will be sure to step up. I still see great effort and the players trying their best to win some ball games. Even though the results have not been there, the effort has been. We are hungry to win and more importantly really sticking together. I am really proud of that.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.