ST. LOUIS — Willson Contreras made his first appearance since his initial signing with the St. Louis Cardinals back in December at Winter Warm-Up.
The Cardinals and Contreras signed a five-year, $87.5 million contract after Contreras spent the last seven years with the Chicago Cubs.
At Monday's event, Contreras talked about spring training, the roster and winning a World Series with the Cardinals.
Contreras discussed how important it was for him to get down to Jupiter, Florida, the site of the Cardinals' spring training, to get working and getting to know the players.
Contreras made the decision not to represent his country, Venezuela, in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and spend his time getting to know the Cardinals organization.
"It was not an easy decision, but I know my responsibilities," he said. "I don't want to risk my body into something that won't help the team at all."
He shared that Adam Wainwright has messaged him discussing their plans for Jupiter. Contreras plans on starting to visit starting the week of Jan. 23 to get to know everyone.
"It's really important to me to get to know the guys, get to know what they like to do, what they are working on, what we need to get better at," he said. "And create a relationship that will lead us to having a good year,"
Contreras emphasized his want and need to get to know every player in the Cardinals organization to build a relationship with them.
Getting to know the starting rotation as he will be catching for many of them in less than a month. He said he has been watching videos of all the pitchers and loving what he is seeing. One of the things he loved the most was how competitive they are.
"They are winners, they want to compete, they want to get better and that's something that really pumped me up," he said.
With Contreras behind the plate, he also talked about the corners of the diamond with Paul Goldschmidt on first base and Nolan Arenado on third.
"Having Goldy and Arenado is like a dream come true," he said. "I've played against them and now that I'm here I can't wait to start spring training and get to know them"
He talked about Arenado reaching out to him after he signed with the team.
"I was really happy when Arenado texted me about being here in the same team and saying about winning the World Series," he said.
"That's something that makes me happy that the whole team is talking about winning the World Series, getting to the World Series and I believe it because we have the team to get there and we are here to win it all," Contreras said.
"The fans have been really sweet, really lovely," Contreras said.
Contreras said he made the trip to St. Louis on Saturday night and has seen a couple of fans so far in the area.
"Every fan that I've seen, they make me feel like I've been here for a lot of years," he said. "That's something I was looking forward to."
He was able to sign autographs for Cardinals fans Monday during the Winter Warm-Up and continue to get to know the city.
"So far, it's been nothing but a great experience with the fans. Hopefully, we can continue that for the next five years."