I don’t care what the recent rumors suggest: the Chicago Cubs are not looking to trade Anthony Rizzo – no matter how drastic of a change is afoot.
I was hesitant to even give this lip service but it’s part of the job. Cover what’s being said, react to it, etc. So here we are. According to Jeff Passan, Chicago has been described as “aggressive”, “manic”, “motivated” and “obvious” in their intentions of trading someone this offseason.
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None of that is out of line with what we’ve been hearing since the season ended, really. Theo Epstein was pissed off when the team lost in the Wild Card game and he’s even more displeased after the Cubs won just 84 games and missed the postseason entirely this time around.
But it’s where Passan’s piece goes from there that turned more than a few heads.
"He seems untradable. The likelihood of the Cubs moving him certainly is lower than the others. But even he could move in this climate."
Chicago has control of Rizzo through the 2021 campaign, his age-32 season. He’s coming off another superb offensive campaign in which he hit .293/.405/.520 – putting up the second-highest OPS of his big league career. Not to mention, he also brought home his third Gold Glove, his second consecutive year earning the honor for his position in the National League.
I’ll admit – even I forgot just how good this guy was this year. Why? Because his season largely boiled down to his triumphant and incredible return from a major ankle injury in late September, when he came back and did everything in his power to will his team back to the postseason. We all believed he was done for the year only to see him push through the pain and, once again, embody everything you want in a leader.
Which brings us to the main reason – yes, that’s right. His value to the team in the dugout and clubhouse may somehow even outweigh what he’s done on the field in his time in Chicago. Rizzo is the undisputed face of the franchise; a guy who has repeatedly drawn calls from fans to be designated the first team captain since Sammy Sosa back in the day.
At this point, with ownership and the front office emphasizing long-term contention rather than a win-now mentality, it’s hard to predict what the coming months will bring. We could see any of the previously mentioned names playing for a different club come 2020. But one thing’s for certain: there’s no world where trading the team’s biggest clubhouse presence and leader makes Chicago better next season or moving forward.
Talent isn’t everything. There are plenty of talented clubs that don’t win. It’s about striking that balance of chemistry and talent that allows all 25 (or, come next year 26) guys to perform at a high level and accomplish organizational goals. Does someone come to mind when you mention that blend of talent and chemistry? I’ve got a guy in mind.
Trading Anthony Rizzo would be a farce – period.