Former Brewers catcher proves Cubs right for dumping Willson Contreras

The Chicago Cubs said goodbye to Willson Contreras last offseason. Former Brewers catcher Erik Kratz revealed why they might have made the right choice.

Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

It was a year of adjustments for the Chicago Cubs, who began life without Willson Contreras. The veteran catcher joined the rival St. Louis Cardinals on a five-year, $87.5 million contract.

Contreras left the Cubs after seven seasons with the team, who never tried to re-sign him. As it turns out, that might have been the correct choice by the Cubs.

According to former MLB catcher Erik Kratz, he and his Milwaukee Brewers teammates were easily able to decipher what pitches were coming when they played the Cubs in 2018. Kratz stated that the team was able to intercept Contreras' signs with relative ease.

Erik Kratz's revelation about Willson Contreras, Cubs

When Contreras made starts behind the plate for the Cubs in 2018, pitches were being called from the dugout. Kratz believes it came from then-bench coach Brandon Hyde, who is now the manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

This is certainly a shocking revelation, but it also adds a little bit of context to some of the Cardinals issues this season. Contreras was pulled out of the starting catcher's role and used exclusively as a designated hitter for a time.

Perhaps other teams could have been picking up on his signs this past season when playing against the Cardinals. Clearly, if the Cubs were calling pitches for Contreras in 2018, they may have seen similar issues to what the Cardinals saw in 2023.

Kratz and the Brewers being able to pick up on Conteras' signs could have contributed to the Cubs downfall late in 2018. The Cubs were winners of 95 games, but they lost the NL Central tiebreaker game against the Brewers and entered the postseason as a Wild Card team. They were eliminated by the Colorado Rockies the following night, while Milwaukee made a run to the NLCS.

In the end, it may have been for the best that the Cubs were unable to retain Contreras. While he certainly isn't solely responsible, Contreras' Cardinals lost 91 games in 2023 and finished in last place in the NL Central.