The Major League Baseball all-star break could not have come at a better time for the Chicago Cubs as the team has only won 2 of their last 10 games. After being tied for first place two weeks ago, the Cubs are now in third place of the National League Central division and are eight games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs’ downfall over the past two weeks has pushed the front office fully into the sell mode and the likes of Craig Kimbrel, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo could all have a new team by the end of July.
While speaking with reporters after the Cubs’ dropped a 6-0 game to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras took shots at his own teammates.
“It’s really hard, especially when you want to win,” said Contreras, who speculated that “everybody was off” Saturday because they were “distracted” by the All-Star break approaching Monday.
“I’m just going to keep doing my job. The way I play is not going to change,” Contreras said. “That’s on everybody’s work ethic and job. I cannot ask everybody to play like [Javy] Baez and I play.
“Everybody’s different. I know they might be tired. But I’m here to win. I’m here to compete. That’s what I like to have from everybody else.”
–Willson Contreras, NBC Sports Chicago
There is an old adage in professional sports, winning cures everything. When a team is winning, it masks everything else. But the Cubs are not winning. The Cubs are fresh off a historic losing streak and are on the verge of finally overturning a roster that has been a disappointment since their World Series-winning effort in 2016.
Willson Contreras’s comments on Saturday were a product of the Chicago Cubs losing.
This is an ugly end to what was the most prominent window in the Cubs’ franchise. When the Cubs emerged onto the contending scene in 2015, the year 2021 was always circled on the calendar. The thought was that after the 2021 season, the Cubs would be building a new core with the hopes of creating a new window of contention.
Unfortunately, with the Cubs being unable to extend any of their core players, the 2021 season is now marked as a year in which the front office finally took a wrecking ball to the roster. This Cubs’ roster has become complacent and it is the reason for their fall from grace.
What Contreras’ comments also confirm is that there is a fracture within the Cubs’ clubhouse. While it is not clear who on the Cubs’ roster that Contreras was referring to, it is worth noting that the Cubs’ catcher and first baseman Anthony Rizzo did have a heated altercation in the dugout during the first week of June. After the altercation, Cubs’ manager David Ross chalked the altercation up to a difference in competitiveness.
Contreras should be applauded for his comments on Saturday night. They were a fresh and honest perspective about the current state of the Cubs. This Cubs’ team is not good and that was clear when the season started. The honesty from Contreras is why he should be praised as the new leader of the Cubs’ clubhouse moving forward.
It is very likely that the Chicago Cubs will be establishing a new core after the trade deadline and that core should be built around their star catcher.