Anthony Rizzo says the Chicago Cubs are the ones to blame if core walks

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Anthony Rizzo might be in his final weeks or months in a Chicago Cubs uniform. But he’s going to make sure the fans know that, if that’s the case, it’s because the organization is making it that way – not the other way around.

As his career as progressed, the three-time All-Star has become a much more vocal presence in the clubhouse and with the media – perhaps at no point more so than the last six months, when he’s been open and blunt when asked about extension talks and his future on the North Side.

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This weekend, Rizzo laid it all out there: if the Cubs want to re-sign Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, they’re more than capable of doing so – regardless of what messages ownership has been sending over the state of the club’s finances in the last year.

"“If they want to, absolutely they can,” Rizzo told the Chicago Tribune Friday. “The game is thriving with all the TV deals, the revenue (streams). If that’s their out and it’s time to go, so be it.”"

Tom Ricketts spoke of financial losses of ‘biblical’ proportions last year. With no fans in the stands or frequenting the Ricketts-owned hotels and restaurants in Wrigleyville, I’ve little doubt that he felt it in his pocketbook – as did tens of millions of Americans. But make no mistake. The Chicago Cubs remain a large market team. 

Chicago Cubs will shoulder the blame if Anthony Rizzo, core players depart

Rizzo is perfectly in the right to put the ball in the team’s court. They low-balled him this spring and, at this point, he’s got nothing to lose by making it clear that he’d love to stay a Cub for life. If that doesn’t happen, though, he seems perfectly content moving on, knowing that fans aren’t going to blame him either way.

With the trade deadline approaching, the question of the core’s future will be a highly-speculated topic both in the local and national media. Bryant is playing like an MVP, Baez looks like he could be the star in this winter’s class of free agent shortstops and Rizzo remains one of the best all-around first basemen in the game.

"“I just think it’s so out of our control. I know this question is going to be asked now, and at the All-Star break, and at the trade deadline and into September and October. But it’s really out of our control. Just do what’s best for yourself, what’s best for the next guy coming up, for the game and for your own mindset.”"

Cubs president Jed Hoyer has a lengthy history with Rizzo, having signed him in Boston and traded for him in San Diego. Of the three, at least heading into the spring, the first baseman seemed like the likeliest to stick around long-term. Now, though, I’m not nearly as sure – and there are definitely teams that would love to add him next winter.

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One thing’s for sure. Anthony Rizzo is spot-on in his assessment. If the Chicago Cubs want all three, they can most certainly make it happen financially. Whether or not the organization chooses such a path remains to be seen.