Would the Chicago Cubs ever trade Anthony Rizzo?


In recent months, due to the arrival of Javier Baez and progression of Addison Russell – Not to mention a few legal matters – trade talks spawned for Starlin Castro. So with that, we wondered, what would it take for the Cubs to trade Anthony Rizzo?

In 2013, the Chicago Cubs identified Castro and Anthony Rizzo as the “core” of their Major League roster, locking both up to long-term deals before they neared free agency. It was a calculated risk, and after each struggled in 2013, some wondered if it had failed. But both had bounceback years in 2014, but it seems only Castro’s name comes up in trade talks. We’ve referenced some of his off the field issues recently, and the depth the Cubs have in the middle-infield is the biggest reason for the speculation. So what type of deal would the team have to be offered for Rizzo to consider?

Between the two emerging superstars, Rizzo has shown more leadership, or at least the desire to. With a young roster, the two were essentially “veterans” of the young team, forced into leadership roles. Rizzo has taken the reigns and become a strong clubhouse presence for a player of his age, and often teams search out those types of personalities for the overall benefit of the team, not necessarily the player’s ability or numbers.

Rizzo is a Cub, and will remain that way for a long time

Rizzo is very active in the community, and even became the youngest player ever to win the Branch Rickey Award in 2014, as “a strong role model for young people”. He’s battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May of 2008, and after chemotherapy was deemed cancer free. The young man at 25-years old is already well-tested, and is poised to be a great team leader.

Statistically, Rizzo has continued to improve each year, and took great strides overall in 2014. With a slash of .286/.386/.527, and an OPS of .913, to go along with his 32 home runs and 78 RBIs, those were good enough to earn MVP consideration as he finished 10th in the voting. His Steamer projection for 2015 of .271/.360/.501 with an .861 OPS fall right in line, as well as 31 home runs and 90 RBIs.

In the field, he has the capability to be a Gold Glove first baseman. A career .995 fielder, it’s not about the errors that he makes, but the ones he prevents. Think back to what Mark Grace did for Shawon Dunston. Rizzo has that ability to help protect the defense from its own mistakes, which are possible with the youth of what the infield may be very soon.

So this is who Rizzo is. Community involved, role model, solid defender and of course an up and coming hitter. So what is he worth?

If the Cubs front office, for whatever reason decided to trade Rizzo, they would make a killing in prospects. Originally traded for Andrew Cashner, that one-for-one deal is a thing of the past for him. The Cubs would need a package of at least three top prospects, and a Major League ready player. Not necessarily first base, just ready now. With such a barren market for first baseman this season, there would be a high-demand for a player of Rizzo’s caliber.

The truthful answer is that there’s no offer the Cubs would receive that would be worth allowing Rizzo to leave Chicago. His work ethic has showed that if there’s a weakness in his game, he’ll fix it. If there’s a need to help in the community, he’s there. The fact that he didn’t have immediate success in the Majors is another reason to believe in how good he will be. He continues to work hard, because it didn’t come easy. There’s something to be said about that. Look how many former Rookie of the Year winners in each league never repeated that first-year success.

Rizzo is a Cub, and will remain that way for a long time. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have a deep belief in him, as the combination has made several trades for him in his short career.

Next: Ben Zobrist an option for the Cubs?