Just as the Chicago Cubs did with Starlin Castro, they have moved in and locked-up first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a long-term contract, giving them a chance to build a team around the pair for the foreseeable future.
Rizzo, 23, has agreed to a seven-year, $41 million contract that replaces his one-year deal for 2013 and includes two club options that could increase the value of the deal to $68 million for nine years, according to Cubs sources. There are escalator clauses based purely on performance, but more importantly not a no-trade clause.
The deal will be announced today at Wrigley Field, according to sources. This move was a “home run” by Cubs management.
On April 25th Rizzo was batting only .173 and people were debating if another stint in the minor leagues was not only required, but a given. Since then, he has been tearing the cover off of the ball hitting .448, including five three-hit games. He know has some gaudy numbers, hitting .280 with 9 home runs, a .891 OPS and 28 RBIs in 37 games.
Here is the breakdown of the contract terms:
Rizzo’s deal is especially lucrative because he was on track for four arbitration years, including Super-2 status after 2014. The deal covers one free-agent year and as many as three if the club options are exercised.
Selected right out of high school in the sixth round of the 2007 amateur draft by Boston, a time when Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were running the Red Sox front office. He played in just 21 minor league games in 2008 after being diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in late April and returned the following year.
He was traded to San Diego in December 2010 in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, when Hoyer was the Padres’ general manager. The Cubs acquired him in the trade that sent Andrew Cashner to San Diego before the 2012 season, after Hoyer reunited with Epstein in Chicago.
Castro inked a similar seven-year deal worth $60 million which runs through 2019 and has built-in option for ’20. Epstein and Hoyer hope they will be joined by prospects Javier Baez and Jorge Soler as cornerstones of a perennial contender, and they are achieving cost certainty with them that could make it easier to construct a roster around them. Soler, who is playing for high-A Daytona but could get to Wrigley Field by late 2014, is signed through 2020.
Epstein and Hoyer are focusing on pitching at this point. They are expected to take either Stanford’s Mark Appel or Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray with the second overall pick in the upcoming draft and will look to acquire pitching in midseason trades. They also remain interested in signing right-hander Jeff Samardzija to a contract extension. He will be eligible for free agency after 2015 if he does not sign a long-term extension.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report of the news on the deal.