Milwaukee is a place that players like to play. Year after year Brewers players speak highly of the city of Milwaukee, Brewers fans, and their desire to continue to play here. The team culture and Craig Counsell as manager also likely plays a factor in that.
William Contreras is relatively new to Milwaukee, having just arrived this year, but he's quickly fallen in love with his new home and even though he's under several more years of team control, he knows this is a place he wants to stay long-term.
According to a report from Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, William Contreras is open to extension talks with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Toward the end of the very in-depth piece from Hogg on the Brewers starting catcher, it's mentioned that William Contreras is open to talking contract extension with Milwaukee.
"“I feel good,” Contreras said. “I feel like an important piece of this team and really comfortable on this team. I feel at home.”"
While Contreras' love of playing here and desire to stay is wonderful news, there's naturally a caveat.
According to Contreras, he hasn't heard any chatter from the Brewers front office yet about interest in talking extension.
Now, before everyone gets up in arms, there's a couple of reasons for this that have nothing to do with Contreras' performance on the field or their feelings about him. To start with, Contreras won't become a free agent until after the 2027 season. They still have four more years of team control over him, so there's no reason to rush.
Secondly, Contreras isn't even arbitration eligible until 2025. He's going to be making near-minimum salary next season. At the same time a key player like Contreras is going to be playing on a bargain salary, the Brewers will have several core players in their final year of arbitration that will be the most expensive they've ever been. Whether fans like it or not, there are payroll constraints the Brewers have to work with and next year's payroll is going to be tight, so voluntarily paying Contreras more money well before they have to doesn't seem to be in the team's best interest.
The payroll constraints could potentially even force the Brewers to consider trades of players like Corbin Burnes or Willy Adames as painful as that would be.
Contreras won't begin to become more expensive for the Brewers until the 2025 season, and at that point, with three years until free agency and continually escalating arbitration salaries, it would be wise to enter contract extension talks from the Brewers' end.
The Brewers brought in a different young, talented hitter with five years of team control at a bargain a couple years ago by the name of Christian Yelich. It became pretty clear right away that he was deserving of a contract extension, yet it still took until after his second year of success in Milwaukee for his extension to be completed. Contreras, like Yelich, may have to wait until after his second season with the Brewers for extension talks to really rev up.
It's not that he's not deserving, because he is. Naturally Contreras is going to want to talk extension right now. He's playing well, likes where he is, and is making a near-minimum salary, of course he'll want to get paid more and stay where he wants to be. From the Brewers perspective, it makes little sense to talk extension with Contreras now, no matter how much they like him.
Hopefully they'll eventually be able to work out a deal to secure Milwaukee's catcher of the present and future.