Cubs: Lack of an Anthony Rizzo extension is an embarrassment to the franchise
When Anthony Rizzo went to his zoom conference with reporters near the end of spring training, the longtime Chicago Cubs first baseman had grim news in regard to his future with the organization. The captain told reporters he wouldn’t be coming to an agreement with the club on an extension by his self-imposed Opening Day deadline.
It was yet another trying development in an offseason full of frustrations for Cubs fans. Chicago was never expected to get an extension worked out with Kris Bryant, and nothing ever really developed with Javier Baez either, but most fans hoped and expected Anthony Rizzo would be extended.
Rizzo has been the cornerstone of the franchise for nearly a decade, the first of the core that brought a World Series back to Chicago. Throughout his career, he’s been dirt cheap after signing a team-friendly extension back in 2013. Surely the team could extend the courtesy of keeping him around at a good price for him right? The answer to that question for now at least, is a resounding ‘no’.
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Chicago reportedly offered Rizzo just four years and 60 million dollars, which is quite frankly laughable. The three-time All-Star is worth much more than $14 million a year and he knows that. Rizzo did say he’s still open for negotiations throughout the season, but the Cubs have to come to him with a deal, as he now is focusing on the season.
Cubs are embarrassing themselves
Jed Hoyer and the Ricketts family should feel at least some semblance of shame as they’re now causing an unnecessary strain between themselves and a franchise icon. They’ve already seemingly burnt their bridge with Kris Bryant, and now they’re starting to do the same with one of the most important players in franchise history.
Fans are simply not going to side with the team on this one either. Anthony Rizzo has been a model of consistency for years now. He’s been an on-base machine, still has a good power stroke, and is a top 3 defensive first baseman at worst. Add in the fact that he’s beloved universally by the fanbase and it begs the question. If the Cubs won’t extend Rizzo, who can we ever expect them to keep?
Following Rizzo’s comments, Jed Hoyer did say things such as “There’s no bigger Anthony Rizzo fan than me,” as well as “I am optimistic we’ll end up reaching an agreement,” But it’s really hard to take this as anything other than organizational spin to try and keep the fans happy. Hoyer said that they really want Rizzo there for a long time but their offers to him sure don’t paint the same picture.
Hopefully, Hoyer and the Ricketts wisen up and up their offer to Rizzo at some point in the year but it may depend on how the season goes whether or not we see an extension or not. If the Cubs struggle, there’s a good chance that Rizzo, like so many others, is traded rather than extended.
It’s a shame that this is the reality the Cubs have put themselves into but it’s where we are now. The discussions the Ricketts should’ve been having with Rizzo is where outside of Wrigley they’d put his statue. Instead, there’s now a good chance he finishes his career elsewhere, which would be a completely avoidable tragedy. Pay the man.