Without prior knowledge of talks breaking down between Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs this spring, the first baseman’s comments on Friday might not mean much. But, at least when I read them, they made me think there’s just about no chance the team extends him prior to the trade deadline at the end of the month.
"“With all that, I’ve said my piece on how I feel and how I love the city,” he told NBC Sports Chicago. “We’ve gone back and forth, but I just think that focusing on today right now is best for me, and I have no idea what’s going to happen 14 days from now. I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow. Just like Joc getting traded yesterday. So, during this period it’s definitely like, ‘Today, what do I have to do?’ Play baseball, just really simplify it and not worry about it.”"
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Earlier this week, we learned Jed Hoyer and the front office wanted to make one final effort to extend both Rizzo and Javier Baez. Now, we’ll see how those talks end up going with Baez, but it sure feels like the bridge was burned with Rizzo and his camp this spring when Chicago offered him a five-year, $70 million extension that pales in comparison to what Paul Goldschmidt got from the Cardinals for the same stretch of his career.
Rizzo has meant more to this organization than probably any player since Sammy Sosa in the late 1990s and early 2000s. When you talk about the mark he’s left on the franchise, you think of guys like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and other Hall of Famers. He’s meant that much to the Cubs during his time here.
Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo will listen, but does that mean much?
The thought of him in another uniform feels out of place and wildly uncomfortable. But it may be closer to becoming a reality than any of us realize. Rizzo loves the city and loves the fans, but we don’t know if those things alone will keep him on the North Side for the rest of his career.
"“I’m here in Chicago and I love it here, as I’ve expressed always, but I just don’t see any reason for us to listen,” Rizzo said then. “Obviously, if they call, we’re not going to be selfish and stubborn. But my mindset is just, ‘play baseball.’”"
As of Friday, he hasn’t sat down and talked turkey with Hoyer and the front office. That’ll happen soon enough, I’m sure, but I just keep circling back to Rizzo’s comments earlier this year when he made it perfectly clear he had no intentions of working out a new deal during the season.