Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo speaks on lack of extension talks

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Ahead of this weekend’s Cubs Convention, first baseman Anthony Rizzo offered up some thoughts regarding the team’s unwillingness to discuss an extension.

If one thing is for sure, this year’s Cubs Convention will be unlike any in recent memory. The team has a new manager in David Ross, coming off a year in which they missed the postseason for the first time since 2015 and many of the team’s biggest names have swirled in trade rumors for months.

Throw in the fact that ownership has seemingly mandated cuts to the baseball operations budget while simultaneously avoiding fans this weekend and you’ve got a recipe that, if nothing else, will make things interesting, to say the least.

Those very payroll limitations kept Chicago from even entertaining the idea of extending first baseman and franchise cornerstone Anthony Rizzo earlier this winter – something the three-time All-Star spoke about on Thursday.

According to Rogers, Rizzo also said that he’d be ‘naive’ to not think he might finish his career somewhere other than Chicago – a harrowing thought for fans. The Cubs exercised their team option for the upcoming 2020 season and will undoubtedly do the same for the option they hold for 2021. But anything after that is uncharted waters and very unfamiliar territory.

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Last season, Rizzo was as consistent as ever with a .924 OPS at the dish while bringing home his third Gold Glove. He set a new career-high with a .405 on-base percentage, serving as the team’s only productive leadoff hitter. Let’s not forget, either, that he hasn’t struck out more than 90 times since 2016.

Everything he does on the field can be boiled down to a Baseball Reference page. He’s a well-rounded talent and the awards and accolades attest to as much. But he brings value in ways you can’t really measure. Given the Cubs’ current standing, those ‘other’ contributions are more critical than ever.

As Rizzo noted, the financials of the game are, indeed, cutthroat. We know that and Cubs fans have watched that play out for months now. We are, indeed, talking about trading a former Most Valuable Player at this point – something that seemed completely out of the realm of possibility in the not-so-distant past.

But we’re talking about a guy who has done everything you’ve asked – and then some. Normally, I’m able to separate emotion from the equation when I’m looking at the game, even when it’s my favorite team. This is different though. Rizzo checks so many boxes this team desperately needs moving forward and he means so much to the organization.

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So, you know what? If Anthony Rizzo is frustrated with how the talks stopped dead in the water this winter, he is very much in the right. It’s inexcusable – and letting him finish his career anywhere other than Wrigley Field would be a permanent blemish on the history of this storied franchise.