The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free-agent All-Star catcher Willson Contreras to a five-year contract (2023-27) worth $87.5 million. Also includes a club option for 2028.
“We are pleased to introduce Willson Contreras as the newest member of the St. Louis Cardinals,” stated Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “Willson is a proven All-Star performer who is driven to win each and every day. The Cardinals have had a lengthy history of standout catchers, and we feel that Willson is someone who is capable of adding his name to that distinguished list in the years to come.”
Contreras, 30, has played seven seasons with the Chicago Cubs and was the longest active tenured member of the organization when he became a free agent at the end of the 2022 season.
Over his seven-year Major League career, Contreras has appeared in 734 games, batting .256 with 117 home runs, 365 RBI and an on-base percentage of .349, ranking 3rd among all primary catchers in on-base percentage since arriving in the Major Leagues in 2016. Defensively, he ranks 2nd among all active Major League catchers with 25 pick-offs and has the most since 2016.
In 2022, Contreras played in 113 games, batting .243 with 22 home runs, 55 RBI and posted single-season career highs with 65 runs scored and 47 extra base hits.
The native of Puerto Caballo, Venezuela, is a four-time postseason participant, playing in 30 games, and won a World Series in 2016. He was named as the starting catcher for the National League All-Star team in 2018, 2019 and 2022.
The right-handed hitting Contreras has hit 20 or more home runs in four seasons since 2017, tied with Salvador Pérez and Yasmani Grandal for the most among MLB catchers over that period, becoming the only catcher in Cubs history with four seasons of 20 or more home runs.
Contreras has appeared at five different positions, primarily at catcher with 626 games, followed by 39 in the outfield, 11 at first base and two at third base. His 5,016 career innings at catcher rank 7th-most among MLB catchers from 2016-22, including leading all MLB catchers with 1,109.2 in 2018.
His brother, William, has played for the Atlanta Braves since 2020 and the two brothers started for the National League in the 2022 All-Star Game, the 5th set of brothers to start an All-Star Game in the same year.