CHICAGO – It turns out that all the goodbyes for two of the more popular players on the Cubs were just a bit premature.
Contrary to what many believed would be the case, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ aren’t going anywhere yet.
The Cubs did not trade either player at the deadline when it expired at 5 PM central time on Tuesday.
Both were listed in the lineup for the team’s game with the Cardinals around 3 PM, and as it turns out, each will remain with the club for the rest of the season. Contreras will be finishing the final year of his contract in 2022 while Happ will have one more arbitration season in 2023 on his deal.
Signed as an international free agent in 2009, Contreras worked his way through Cubs’ minor league system until making his major league debut on June 17, 2016 at Wrigley Field. That night against the Pirates, he hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat on the first pitch he saw, which set in motion his very eventful rookie year.
Contreras would be in the catching rotation with David Ross and Miguel Montero and helped the Cubs to their first World Series championship in 108 years.
Starting in 2017, he would become the team’s primary catcher. He would help the Cubs to three more playoff appearances in 2017, 2018, and 2020 and made the All-Star Game three times as the starting catcher for the National League in 2018, 2019, and this past July.
As one of the few remaining players from the Cubs’ 2016 championship core, Contreras is one of the leaders of the club in the 2022 season. In 86 games, he hit .252/.365/.453 with 20 doubles, 14 home runs, and 38 RBI.
His averages were better the first month of the season before enduring a slow July in which he hit just .149 with a homer and four RBI, but he’ll get the chance to improve on that as the season concludes in August, September, and the first week of October.
In 707 regular season games for the Cubs, Contreras had a slash line of .258/.351/.457 with 130 doubles, 109 homers, and 348 RBI.
Drafted by the Cubs with the ninth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft out of Cincinnati, Happ made his debut with the team in 2017 and helped them to a second-straight National League Central Division title. He hit .253 with 24 homers and 68 RBI in his first season and appeared in five playoff games as the Cubs advanced to the National League Championship Series.
In 2018, Happ’s number declined across the board as he appeared in 142 contests, hitting .233 with 15 home runs and 44 RBI with 167 strikeouts. Struggling at the plate in spring training of 2019, the outfield spent most of the first half of the season in Triple-A Iowa before finally getting brought up to the big leagues in late July.
Happ finished that season with 58 games played, hitting .264 with 11 homers and 30 RBI, and was around the same numbers in 57 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign (.258, 12 home runs, 28 RBI).
In an up-and-down 2021 season, Happ finished up strong as he hit .323 in the month of September with seven homers and 22 RBI, which helped to set up his best season to date. On his way to being named an All-Star reserve, Happ has hit .279/.360/.436 with 25 doubles, nine homers and 36 RBI in 99 games this season.