Cubs’ David Ross on Willson Contreras: ‘If he stays, we’re all going to be happy’

ST. LOUIS — Every baseball writer with hotdog on his or her breath is certain catcher Willson Contreras won’t be back with the Cubs next season. Then again, everyone just knew Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer would trade Contreras at the deadline, but Hoyer couldn’t get it done.

What do we know, right?

Scratch that. You can trust us on this one: Contreras is an offseason goner.

And one of the teams that might be interested in his services is the Cardinals, who are counting down to an emotional farewell to retiring star catcher Yadier Molina. What would Cubs manager David Ross think of seeing Contreras wearing the Bird on the Bat?

“Then we’ll try to kick his butt every time we come here,” Ross said Saturday before the Cubs lost 8-4 to the Cardinals in the middle game of a weekend series.

Contreras hasn’t played since he left Tuesday’s game in Toronto with a sore left ankle. Depending how he feels Sunday morning, he might be in the lineup for the series finale.

A reporter wanted to know if Ross is voicing to his bosses that he’d prefer to show up to work next season and find a three-time All-Star in a Cubs uniform squatting behind the plate.

“I’ll let Jed take care of all that stuff. The budget and how they make up the roster, I leave up to them,” Ross said. “When they ask my opinion, I give it. I think Willson has proven he’s a very good player, he’s a winning player, a World Series champion. … Any team he’s on is going to be better for it.”

Ross compared himself to one of his children in a candy store, wanting Dad to say yes to “four Snickers and three Reese’s.”

“I want all the toys,” he said, “as many as we can get.”

But if Ross really believes there’s a chance Contreras will remain a Cub, he didn’t give it away.

“If it’s here, we’re all going to be happy,” he said. “If it’s not, another team is going to benefit from how good a player he is.”

Goldy knocks

The Cubs will not be devastated to be finished with Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt after the weekend. The runaway favorite for National League MVP hit an opposite-field homer off Drew Smyly in the first inning for his seventh long ball of the season against the North Siders. That’s one off the Cardinals record shared by Matt Carpenter (2018), Jim Edmonds (2004), Albert Pujols (2004), Stan Musial (1950) and Rogers Hornsby (1925).

Goodness, St. Louis sure has seen its share of pretty good players. But enough about that.

So much for that

Smyly’s rough night — which included surrendering back-to-back homers to Tommy Edman and Tyler O’Neill before he was yanked in the third inning — ended one of the best brief stretches of his career. The lefty posted a 0.90 ERA over 30 innings in his previous five starts.

First of all …

With a three-run first inning, the Cubs scored first for the 78th time this season, an almost impossible-to-believe numbers considering (1) they’re going to finish a few miles short of .500 and (2) only two teams in all of baseball have scored first more often. The Mets and Astros (81 each)? They’re actually pretty dang good.

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