Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo – who returns?

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /
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Anthony Rizzo / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo always felt like he’d spend his whole career here

Why re-sign him:

He never got a “C” on his chest, but he was seen by many as the Cubs’ captain for so many years before being traded before the deadline. The 32-year-old first baseman is slashing .254/.352/.420 with six home runs, 18 RBI and 115 wRC+ since joining the New York Yankees.

Frank Schwindel has been nothing short of spectacular since taking over at fist base, and 25-year-old Alfonso Rivas is an intriguing prospect, but otherwise, there is no clear-cut future first baseman on Chicago’s roster. Schwindel is just finding his groove at 29, Rivas can play multiple positions and there are no other first base prospects in the top 30 ( outside Rivas. Whether Bryce Ball can develop into that role remains to be seen. The point of all this being, a Rizzo reunion could re-solidify the first base position for the next few years.

Rizzo’s defense is spectacular and he’s always had a great approach at the plate. This could benefit some of the younger guys coming up having an experienced, successful veteran building block as the next core develops. A potential infield that includes Rizzo, Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal would be a heck of a defensive group – and a high-contact offensive approach.

In the end, it is hard to not want to see Rizzo part of the Cubs.

Why not re-sign him: 

Rizzo is not getting any younger, and the back issues seem to flare up more with each passing year. Thirty-two might not be that old, but physical issues can speed up the aging process for an athlete.

While Rizzo’s offensive numbers overall this year are still productive, hitting at least 20 homers with a .340+ OBP and 112 wRC+, he has not been quite the same player he had been in his prime. Compare a .284/.388/.513 slash from 2014-2019 to a .241/.344/.431 slash the past two seasons. With a guy on the wrong side of 30 who battles back issues, one cannot help but wonder if his best days are simply behind him.

Rizzo made it clear he wanted a nice extension, and the reported Cubs offer of $70 million for five years was obviously not going to get it done. How much he gets offered by teams this winter remains to be seen and his asking price could change, but it is hard to see Chicago bringing back Rizzo for anything outside of a decently sized commitment. If he got paid based on what he did, then he deserves a lot, but that is not how it works. You get paid for what you will do – and that doesn’t bode well for the three-time All-Star.

Wherever he goes, I hope he has success.