After an emotional few weeks, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ remain with Cubs
It has been an emotional few weeks for both Willson Contreras and Ian Happ but both veterans will remain with the Cubs after the trade deadline.
Contreras is set to become a free agent after this season and has dealt with the reality all season that he could be dealt before the deadline. He came to camp with an intention to block out all the noise and focus on enjoying his time with teammates, coaches and the fanbase.
That culminated in an emotional scene last week at Wrigley Field as Cubs fans showered him with love during what could have been his last game as a Cub at Wrigley Field.
Happ is under contract through the 2023 season but he was also on the market and understood the homestand could have been his last with the Cubs. He and Contreras shared a long hug in the dugout after last Tuesday’s game against the Pirates.
“I do understand the emotional toll that it takes when you’re waiting on a phone call and reading rumors,” Jed Hoyer said. “I know that would be difficult for me if I was in that situation. I definitely wanna sit down and talk with those guys. Part of it is we value those guys really highly. They’re really good players. They just played in the All-Star Game and I do think that that is certainly part of it, but it can’t have been an easy week.
“Frankly, the way this has trended, I think the media coverage or the national coverage of the trade deadline starts basically at the All-Star Game. It feels like that’s longer than I remembered it and I think that it makes it harder for those guys. It seems like there’s a 10-day to 2-week countdown now to the deadline. I think those guys have been on egg shells for awhile.”
The Cubs lineup and clubhouse will receive a boost for the rest of the season now that Contreras and Happ remain on the roster. Both players have emerged as leaders for a young, inexperienced roster.
Contreras was in Tuesday’s lineup against the Cardinals hitting 2nd and DHing while Happ hit cleanup and played left field. Contreras nearly homered in his first at-bat and hustled out a triple in his second trip to the plate.
He was clearly happy to still be in a Cubs uniform Tuesday evening:
Willson runs out before tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/d5Wr2faMGJ— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) August 2, 2022
The Cubs ended up trading away a quartet of relievers — Chris Martin, Scott Effross, David Robertson and Mychal Givens — but did not deal away veteran starters Drew Smyly or Wade Miley.