CHICAGO -- With the trade deadline fast approaching, longtime catcher Willson Contreras was on the receiving end of several standing ovations Tuesday at Wrigley Field in what might have been his final home game in a Chicago Cubs uniform.
Contreras, 30, has been in the organization since he was 16 and is set to become a free agent at year's end. He and outfielder Ian Happ, 27, are both candidates to be traded as the Cubs continue a two-year overhaul of their roster.
"If I have to walk away from this team, I'm going to walk away with my head up high," Contreras said after the Cubs' 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "I know that I did everything I could to make this team better from day one when I got called up in 2016.
"This is hard. This is the only thing that I know."
Contreras, one of the top offensive catchers in baseball this season, is one of the last remaining members of the 2016 World Series-winning team, along with Kyle Hendricks and Jason Heyward. He said he has come to terms with leaving.
"Getting traded to a team that is competing is good," he said. "If the Cubs get a good package for me to make this team better, they're going to do it. And I'll be more than happy to help a different team to make it to the World Series. If [a trade] doesn't happen I'll be more than happy to stay here with my teammates and try to find a way to make everyone better."
Contreras said he'd be willing to look at a long-term offer if the Cubs approached him with one, but that hasn't happened. The sides haven't had meaningful contract extension talks since 2018, according to a source familiar with the situation.
"It's not up to me," Contreras said. "If they come with something, I'm pretty sure I'm going to look at it."
Happ, a six-year veteran, has one more season of club control but could be moved with Contreras before next Tuesday's trade deadline. Both were All-Stars this summer.
"It was an emotional day for a lot of us," said Happ.
The Cubs play a long weekend series in San Francisco before heading to St. Louis, where they'll be for the trade deadline next week.
Happ isn't convinced he'll be moved within the next seven days, but he made sure to take in his surroundings during the Cubs' quick two-game homestand against Pittsburgh. He said he had fans from the left-field bleachers sign a ball for him Tuesday.
"It was two really beautiful days at Wrigley Field that I tried to appreciate just as much, if not more, than any other time I get to step out there," he said.
Contreras was given several standing ovations throughout the afternoon as he came to the plate. Before his last at-bat, in the eighth inning, he took time to survey Wrigley Field as the crowd's cheers came to a crescendo. After the last out, he hugged each teammate, one by one.
"I didn't expect it in my first at-bat," he said. "It was just amazing. I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. I love how the fans embrace myself and how much they love me."