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For the Cubs and Willson Contreras, it’s business, not personal, as the franchise tries to find a new direction – The Athletic

MESA, Ariz. — Willson Contreras understands this is all business, nothing personal. Now in his 14th year in the Cubs organization — and only months away from reaching free agency for the first time in his career — he’s not naïve or oblivious to the situation. But as he traveled back to Arizona again, he wanted to think of this as his first spring training, like he’s trying to make the Opening Day roster, so that it feels more like a beginning than the end.

If that sounds like a cliche, remember what happened when Contreras put his mind to it, how much focus and determination it took for a teenager out of Venezuela to grow into being an All-Star catcher. He played seven years in the minor leagues before his name appeared on the national rankings of the game’s top prospects heading into the 2016 season. His presence and confidence stood out immediately, even on a World Series team with so many personalities and enough talent to finally break the 108-year championship drought.

At the moment, the Cubs are not engaged in any active discussions about a Contreras trade, according to two sources familiar with the team’s planning. While that could change with one text message or phone call — never say never — in two weeks the Cubs will be back in Chicago preparing for Opening Day at Wrigley Field. Even under the unusual circumstances after Major League Baseball’s 99-day lockout — and with the acknowledgment that the Cubs are absolutely prioritizing the future over the present — it’s getting harder but not impossible to execute a major trade right now.

Contreras’ contract is another variable to consider.

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