The Cubs have less than a year to make a decision about Anthony Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo has been the heart and soul of the Cubs ever since Theo Epstein traded for the left-handed first baseman in 2013 from the Padres. He is currently on a contract for seven years and $41 million and the team picked up his option for 2021 and will owe him another $16.5 million this year.
Of course, he will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The three-time All-Star has been on a team-friendly deal his whole career, and now the Cubs and their unofficial captain are approaching a fork in the road.
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The 30-year-old has had a special career in Chicago and is currently the eighth-highest paid first baseman in all of baseball. However, what separates him from the top-paid first baseman in Joey Votto is a whopping $184 million. The gap in terms of production is certainly not that wide.
Since 2013, Rizzo is fourth amongst active first baseman in WAR, behind Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman and Votto, respectively. He trails Votto by 0.9 while being outpaid $184 million. Their deals were signed when Rizzo was 23 and Votto was 28. With Rizzo now at 30, his value is definitely worth more than what he’s making now.
In his time with the Cubs, Rizzo has batted .274 with an OPS of .866. He’s been Mr. Consistent and has added four Gold Gloves, a Platinum Glove, a Silver Slugger Award and a minor piece of hardware in a World Series championship ring.
If we go back to the WAR statistic, we see the three players in front of Rizzo are all on contracts of at least $130 million. That does not bode well for a Cubs organization that won’t overpay. That has to be the range negotiations would start off in and who knows if the team would be willing to work in that range.
Rizzo is a player that should be a Cub for life. His passion, perseverance and commitment to this team and city is something that doesn’t come around every day. It would break everyone’s hearts to see him play for another club but that could be the reality. Our hope is that both sides are willing to make something work after this season.
Based on his counterparts, I see a minimum of five years and $130 million for Rizzo in his next contract. The Cubs also are looking to extend Javier Baez and maybe even Kris Bryant and the harsh nature of the situation is that not all three are going to be able to stay. Not only that but if this team is going to enter rebuild mode, overspending to keep their stars wouldn’t make sense in the long run.
Jed Hoyer is in a crucial situation in the next few seasons and I don’t think anybody envies him. The future of the organization is at stake and the hope is that Rizzo is apart of it.