The unofficial captain of the Chicago Cubs has two years left on his deal. Would it be in the team’s best interest to extend Rizzo before that time ends?
As a baseball fan, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo possesses all the qualities you could want out of a player. His consistently high offensive numbers and his ability to always be on the field is something you need out of a leader. Rizzo is one of the few people in the organization that remembers the 100-loss Cubs teams and how far this franchise has come.
In my mind, Rizzo is one of the pieces the Cubs should absolutely extend long-term. There is no such thing as a guarantee in sports, but Rizzo producing at an above-average level for a complete season is just about as close as it gets.
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The three-time All-Star has not played fewer than 140 games since becoming an everyday player in 2013, including a league-high 160 appearances in 2015. an incredible feat for a player that has also lead the league in hit by pitches on three separate occasions.
It’s one thing to be tough and fill a spot on a lineup card day in and day out. What Rizzo is able to do season after season offensively is incredible. Outside of 2013, his first full year, he has not had a batting average under .273, an on-base percentage under .382 nor a slugging percentage under .470.
The sign of a very elite hitter in my opinion is when their slash lines are at or above .300 BA, .400 OBP, and .500 Slugging. Rizzo’s worst seasons after 2013 almost meet these incredibly high standards.
The numbers speak for themselves. Rizzo does not have bad years. He constantly puts up elite numbers for the Chicago Cubs and the front office should reward that offensive production with an extension.
Entering his age-30 season, Rizzo could realistically sign a five-to-eight year deal and be relatively productive for his whole contract. Rizzo is scheduled to make $14,500,000 in each of the next two seasons. As a sign of appreciation as well as an attempt to prolong the Cubs’ success, I would tear up that contract and sign the first baseman to a seven-year, $154 million contract. This average annual value is similar to Joey Votto, who I think is a fair comparison in terms of complete player.
Something about Anthony Rizzo makes you want him to succeed. He has been through it all with the Chicago Cubs and I, along with many Cub fans want to see the big guy retire wearing Cubbie blue pinstripes.