Around this time last year, many Chicago Cubs fans, myself included, were hoping the front office would work out a long-term deal with longtime first baseman Anthony Rizzo and were collectively outraged when it didn’t get done. At the time, it seemed silly to not extend a player that was effectively the captain of the team and had still been decently productive.
Fast forward a year, and now with conversations being had about maybe bringing Rizzo back on a short-term deal, it seems like a prime opportunity to right a wrong. But given where the Cubs are at as a team now, a Rizzo reunion doesn’t make much sense.
For the Cubs, development needs to take precedent over Anthony Rizzo
While bringing Rizzo into the fold would be a nice gesture, and a good move for fan service, he simply isn’t a logical choice for the team next year based on the fact this club is committed to a rebuild/retool. Chicago traded Rizzo and the rest of the core last season, kicking off a youth movement that started the process of building and establishing a new core for the future.
The Cubs aren’t going to be competing for a championship within the next two years, and their offseason moves should be made with that in mind. The signings the Cubs would be best served making are cheap, reclamation projects, like Clint Frazier, or longer-term deals for players that can potentially be cornerstones for a rebuild, like Marcus Stroman could be for the pitching staff. Rizzo simply doesn’t fit that mold.
The Cubs also have a candidate at first base right now that has earned a chance to start next season. After the remarkable stretch Frank Schwindel had as Rizzo’s replacement, and given the fact that he has plenty of team control remaining, it makes far more sense for the Cubs to get another look at Schwindel as opposed to signing Rizzo as a stopgap.
Rizzo should eventually enter Wrigley as a Cub again. He was the heart of the most important team in Cubs history, and it would be an absolute tragedy to not get it done at some point. However, for now, the future needs to take precedence. A fan service move for Rizzo shouldn’t interfere with the Cubs plan.