Andrew Cashner for Anthony Rizzo
Hard to believe, but this has become sort of forgotten trade in the Epstein tenure, mainly because it was his first trade that he made, five years ago. What a steal it has become. Rizzo has turned into a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, while Cashner can’t seem to shake the injury bug. Rizzo has a history with this front office, dating all the way back to the Red Sox, as Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer originally drafted him.
Hoyer then acquired him in San Diego, intending for him to be a franchise cornerstone. Rizzo has followed them to Chicago, where he was intended to be the forefront of the rebuild, and he’s followed through, becoming the franchise cornerstone he was always intended him to be. Before becoming the superstar he is, though, it was a rough road for Anthony.
He was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2008, right when he had just started playing professional baseball. Rizzo overcame it and has worked hard to get where he’s currently at. Off the field, he runs the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which helps families battling cancer. What an easy guy to root for.
Not only has Rizzo turned himself into an All-Star and MVP Candidate offensively, he plays Gold Glove defense at first base, yet the Gold Glove continues to elude him. His time in San Diego was…not memorable. He was first called up to the Padres in 2011, where he played in 49 games, and hit just .141, with one home run.
Once the trade to Chicago happened, he took off and has found a home. He’s signed to a long-term, team-friendly contract through 2019, with two options for 2020-2021. Rizzo is the face of the Cubs’ franchise and looks to be around for years to come, as does the next person on our list.
Next: Giving up arms for future All-Star shortstop