There is no denying that trade rumor season is upon the league, as a whole, but the Chicago Cubs have been at the center of many of them for a while now. During these next few weeks is the time when they start to transition from rumors to reality. At the forefront of these rumors are players who served as vital members of the 2016 World Series team, including Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo.
Less than five years after winning the World Series, it seems as if selling and rebuilding is inevitable for this ball club, whether we like it or not. Specifically, beloved long-time Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo looks like he could be had for the right price. The question remains: where could he get dealt?
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Following the end of this season, Rizzo will become an unrestricted free agent. Meaning, regardless whether he gets traded at this deadline or not, he could leave Chicago at year’s end. The three-time All-Star fits the bill for many teams considered buyers this year, but the club most prominent in rumors to land Rizzo is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox will be buyers this season given their standing in the AL East, and Rizzo’s impending free agency and recent struggles might spark the team’s interest.
The Red Sox have embarked on a solid and unexpected campaign this season while also sitting atop the American League East Division. It would be hard to see one of the 2016 core like Rizzo go, but since the Red Sox have lacked production from their first base position this year, going out and adding a guy with postseason experience and a strong clubhouse personality such as Rizzo could be the ideal scenario Alex Cora’s club.
Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo still has a lot to offer a winning team
Boston originally drafted the now-32-year-old back in 2007 in the sixth round of the MLB Draft. In 2008, Rizzo was diagnosed with cancer and traded away to the San Diego Padres part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal. So, Rizzo’s tenure with the Red Sox ended rather quickly. However, once he found himself with Chicago, he proved himself one of the best first basemen in the game.
Since the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, Rizzo has struggled. Last year, he slashed .222/.342/.414. This season, he isn’t looking much better, slashing .247/.342/.429. He also has only 10 home runs so far this season which is nowhere near his prime.
Still, we’re talking about a guy who remains elite defensively. Just last season, he won a third consecutive Gold Glove and the fourth of his career. Despite his struggles at the dish, he still carries a 112 OPS+ into the second half which is leaps and bounds ahead of anything a Red Sox first baseman has done this year.
As for the Cubs, replacing Rizzo would be a tall task for the front office. With a rebuild or reload looming, having a veteran leader to guide the clubhouse could be key for the team. Of all the guys we’re talking about leading up to the trade deadline, thinking about Anthony Rizzo wearing another uniform is certainly the strangest.