Willson Contreras admitted after Monday’s loss that his confidence is shot. This is starting to sound like Dexter Fowler’s turbulent 2018 season under Mike Matheny.
Stop me if you heard this before. A fan-favorite of the Chicago Cubs signed a lucrative five-year contract worth over 80 million dollars with the St. Louis Cardinals. That same player endured some growing pains with his new team and got ridiculed by the manager and John Mozeliak. That same player dealt with a loss of confidence and other mental hurdles. If you said either Dexter Fowler or Willson Contreras, you would have been right.
Willson Contreras, mired in a ghastly 5-for-59 slump at the plate, sounded like a player who reached the lowest point in his career after yesterday’s loss to the San Francisco Giants.
""This is my first time since I’ve been in the big leagues that I have struggled this bad. I think I've lost my confidence and I lost my trust, and lost the trust that I came into the season with. It just went away.""- Willson Contreras, according to MLB.com
Let’s be honest, here. Can one honestly blame Contreras? Especially after how Oliver Marmol and this pitching staff threw him under the bus by blaming him for this season’s poor start. By all accounts, Contreras has the support of the team and has resolved issues with the pitching staff.
Now how does this situation compare to Dexter Fowler's nightmare 2018 season? Well, let's take a trip back to memory lane.
Dexter Fowler was criticized by newly-minted President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak during Dan McLaughlin’s “Mondays with Mo” podcast for a lack of hustle. (sound familiar?) Not only was Fowler singled out by Mozeliak for being the only one lacking hustle, but Mozeliak did it when Fowler was on paternity leave.
Making matters worse, it was also reported around this time that Dexter Fowler and Mike Matheny barely, if at all, spoke to one another. After his 2018 season, which featured below-average production, a frayed relationship with the manager, and a season-ending injury, Fowler went on record saying he experienced symptoms of depression.
The fact that the Cardinals are almost making the same mistakes with Contreras as they did with Fowler is infuriating.
The best thing for the Cardinals to do right now is to take Willson Contreras out of the fifth spot in the lineup. This is not a demotion but a time to reset. This Cardinals team needs to give Contreras time to relax and get his confidence back up. We cannot have the same situation that Dexter Fowler endured.