After All-Star honor, Willson Contreras makes it clear: "I would like nothing more than to play for the Chicago Cubs for the rest of my life"

LOS ANGELES — By now next month, Willson Contreras could be wearing a different Major League uniform.

However, if he gets his way, the Chicago Cubs wide receiver isn’t going anywhere. Thirteen years after signing with the organization as a teenager from Venezuela, Contreras is a three-time All-Star. Fans voted Contreras the NL starting catcher for the Midsummer Class on July 19 at Dodger Stadium.

A grateful Contreras was in disbelief Friday afternoon, minutes after manager David Ross announced the news in the clubhouse. Contreras said he works every year to put together an All-Star team. This marks his third All-Star start, making him only the second Cubs catcher to accomplish the feat, joining Gabby Hartnett (1934, 1936-37).

“This means everything to me, being here 13 years,” Contreras said. “I am very grateful and proud of everything I have done here.”

Contreras has been diplomatic and transparent since spring training about his future with the Cubs. An imminent free agent, Contreras saw what happened to his Teammates from the 2016 World Series a year ago on the trading deadline. Contreras has often discussed his approach to taking the season one day at a time and not looking too far ahead. But he understands that without the sides reaching a contract extension before the Aug. 2 trade deadline, his time in Chicago is likely coming to an end.

It makes this All-Star Game, possibly one last hurrah with the Cubs, more meaningful.

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“I hope this isn’t the last time I wear a Cubs jersey to be honest,” Contreras said. “I don’t see myself going anywhere else, but this is a business and we’ll have to understand the business now. If the Cubs can get a really good package for me, they will. If they don’t, I will be beyond grateful and proud to stay here with the Cubs and my teammates.

“But as of now, I don’t see myself wearing another uniform.”

Contreras, 30, has made clear his desire for his baseball future.

“I would love nothing more than to play for the Chicago Cubs the rest of my life,” Contreras said. “Obviously those kinds of things are out of my control, but I’m very excited, proud and honored to be a Chicago Cub.”

However, unless contract talks over the next 3 1/2 weeks lead to a long-term deal, Contreras won’t be a Cub for life. Fans will be forced to watch another All-Star and World Series champion depart as the organization rebuilds and revises a roster that delivered five postseason appearances in six years. Contreras is apparently willing to stick with what is shaping up to be a challenging stretch for the organization.

For now, he’s trying to stay in the moment.

“It sure is overwhelming, I have a lot on my mind right now,” Contreras said. “I am very proud of everything.”

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