Chicago Cubs: What would a long term Anthony Rizzo injury mean?

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Since being acquired in 2012, first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been the face of the Chicago Cubs. What would the team do without him long-term?

The last few years have been kind to Anthony Rizzo. He’s made multiple All-Star teams, earned MVP votes on multiple occasions and led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series since 1908.

At the very least, Rizzo has been a very effective player since coming to the Majors.  Some would even say elite. The past few years, though, a lingering back issue coid popped up. If Rizzo were to miss a significant amount of time, what would the Cubs do to fill his absence?

Operating on the assumption that Rizzo would only miss one season, the logical thing to do would be to make a stopgap trade, and here are some options:

Trade for Manny Machado, move Kris Bryant to first base.

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Machado is only a rental, a free agent after the season. His ties with the Cubs are already in Chicago, as he and Albert Almora are very close friends.

Machado is an elite player and could serve as a mentor to Addison Russell and Javier Baez. Those two are pretty established major leaguers by this point, but a little help from arguably the best defensive player in baseball certainly wouldn’t hurt. Machado has played third base his entire career, but switched back to his natural shortstop position this year.

If he were to become a Cub, the Cubs could either have Machado play third, having Bryant fill in for Rizzo at first base. Another option could be to have Machado play short, Russell move to second, while Baez plays first. The Orioles are likely not contending in 2018, so trading Machado near the deadline makes too much sense.

Trade for Jose Abreu

This is a little less likely of a scenario, since Abreu has another year of control attached to him. By the time the Sox are ready to win will be about the time Abreu’s contract is up. Trading the slugger would not be the worst thing in the world, but they like him to help out the young players which is understandable. The Cubs and Sox have already pulled off one blockbuster last summer, but a second one is not likely.

Trade for Jonathan Lucroy, Willson Contreras plays first

Okay okay, this will not happen. But when injuries happen, sometimes teams have to get creative. Contreras is a better catcher than Lucroy at this point in his career, and letting Contreras play first would let him rest his legs a little bit going forward in his career. Lucroy is a free agent at the end of the season and would be a good stop gap option. The chances of this happening would be pinned at less than five percent.

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