The first major move by the current Cubs front office was trading for Anthony Rizzo. At the time he was 22-years-old coming off his first taste in the majors with the Padres and it wasn’t pretty. Rizzo had a .523 OPS in 49 games when he was called up by San Diego in 2011. However, Theo Epstein envisioned Rizzo as the next cornerstone of the Cubs franchise and so far it’s worked out perfectly.
The Cubs can still keep Rizzo on the team through 2021, as the team has club options for 2020 and 2021 at $14.5 million each year. He’s been a bargain for the Cubs, as he signed an extremely team-friendly deal of seven years for $41 million, but he knows that’ll even out with his next contract.
Via 670 The Score.
“When I signed the deal, I knew if I panned out to be who I thought I would be, I would be underpaid,” Rizzo said. “I think in a couple of years it will probably even out if I continue to play the way I know I can play. I am set for life. I have a lot of money. Financially, I am OK. Everything else will be gravy on top of it.”
Not only has Rizzo played a gold glove caliber first base with the Cubs, but he’s been one of the most consistent offensive players in the National League since he overcame his struggles at the beginning of his career. Rizzo has hit at least 31 home runs from 2014-2017 and recorded at least 101 RBIs from 2015-18, while posting an .877 OPS during the past five seasons. That includes a down 2018, when Rizzo had an underwhelming season for his standards.
The front office loves him, his teammates love him and Rizzo has gained the support from Chicago too. He’s made it pretty clear that he wants to finish his career with the Cubs.
“I love this city and everything we have done here,” Rizzo said. “The fans, the people, the hospitality we get in Chicago — I feel like Chicago is home for me. Two more years after this year is the contract. Right now, I can never visualize playing for another team. Still, you can’t be that naive as to how businesses are run.”
Rizzo will be 32-years-old when he hits free agency, but maybe the Cubs lock him up for longer before the face of the franchise gets to the open market.
The team doesn’t really like to publicly say what the status of any contract extensions are, but during Rizzo’s interview on 670 The Score he did give some insight into those current talks with the Cubs.
“There has been a little bit (of conversation),” Rizzo said. “There is nothing to where we are going to put pen to paper yet. Obviously, it is no secret I want to be a Cub for my whole career. It would be very special to do that. This, however, is 2019 and we all are focusing in on this season. That is the big picture.”
Again, Rizzo will be with the Cubs for at least three more seasons, including 2019, but he may be the first one who gets an extension. It most likely won’t happen this year, but looking ahead to next offseason when the team will shed a lot of payroll, it might be the perfect time for the Cubs and Rizzo to work something out long term.