Heading into this season, if there was one guy you felt like had a solid chance of re-signing with the Chicago Cubs long-term, odds are it was Anthony Rizzo. But then extension talks went sideways in the spring and he was eventually traded to the Yankees one day prior to the trade deadline back in July.
Rizzo helped New York reach the postseason, but saw their postseason hopes dashed at the hands of the rival Red Sox in the AL Wild Card game at Fenway. That didn’t detract the longtime Cub from enjoying his run in the Bronx, though, with friends telling the Star-Ledger recently that Rizzo is ‘quite eager’ to return to the Yankees in free agency.
New York faces some serious roster questions this winter. The uncertainty surrounding manager Aaron Boone was already laid to rest with a contract extension – but now Brian Cashman needs to figure out what his infield will look like next year.
There’s not a clear-cut role for Rizzo with the roster constructed in its current fashion. New York has two other first basemen on the big league club in Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu, so odds are Voit would need to be traded if the team wanted to bring Rizzo back on a multi-year deal. You can’t just slot him in as the designated hitter because of Giancarlo Stanton, whose monster contract has him cemented into the DH spot for years to come.
It’s hard to envision a reunion between the Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo put up roughly the same offensive production in the Bronx down the stretch as he did with Chicago in the first half, which is to say, he was above-average but clearly down from his peak years. After reportedly turning down a five-year offer in the $70 million range from Chicago this spring, it looks likelier than ever he’ll end up on a three-year deal for significantly less than $70 million in the end.
Does that mean he’ll come back to the Cubs on a team-friendly deal? It’s anybody’s guess, but given the breakout performance of Frank Schwindel in the second half and the more pressing issue of rebuilding the starting rotation from scratch, it seems far more likely Jed Hoyer invests in that area rather than in bringing back Rizzo.
You can’t ever say never in this game. But right now, it still seems pretty likely Rizzo is playing elsewhere in 2022 and beyond, whether that means the Bronx or not.