Chicago Cubs attempting to extend Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Call it due diligence or relentless optimism, but the Chicago Cubs are reportedly looking to take one last crack at extending Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo before trade rumor season gets hot and heavy ahead of the July 30 deadline.

This makes sense. Neither guy has put up particularly earth-shattering numbers this year. This spring, Rizzo and his camp balked at a five-year, $70 million offer from the front office but given his performance and nagging back injuries, might he feel differently now? Probably not, but it’s worth it to Jed Hoyer to at least check in to see if more common ground might exist than prior.

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On the year, Rizzo still boasts an above-average 112 OPS+ but he’s a far cry from what he was at his peak during the Cubs’ recent string of postseason runs. Since the start of 2020, he’s just a .236 hitter and his power has trended in the wrong direction in a pretty significant way.

The biggest value he brings to the organization comes in the clubhouse. He’s the undisputed leader of the team and brings a veteran presence that could be integral as the Cubs look to re-tool and reload for another run in coming years. You can easily make the case he should have been given the ‘captain’ title years ago, but that never came to fruition.

As for Baez, he’s one of the most difficult guys, maybe ever, to try and nail down in terms of what he’d fetch on the open market. Some days, he looks like the former MVP runner-up he was back in 2018. Other times, though, he showcases a maddening inconsistency on the diamond, both in his approach at the plate and even defensively.

Next. Multiple teams, including the Mets, interested in Bryant. dark

At one point, he’d hoped to eclipse Xander Bogaerts’ six-year, $120 deal with Boston, but I have a hard time believing the Cubs will want to go anywhere near that number. In the end, do I think we get a news bulletin or a beat writer breaking news of an extension this week? I do not. But, again, you don’t hurt anything by initiating those conversations, especially if you think there’s a chance you might end up trading one of these guys in the next two weeks.