If nothing else, at least Cubs fans finally have some closure when it comes to Anthony Rizzo. After the three-time All-Star re-signed with the Yankees late Tuesday night, the door is officially (at least for now) closed on a potential return to Chicago in free agency.
Rizzo, 32, netted a two-year, $32 million deal from New York that includes an opt-out after the 2022 season. After turning down what initially seemed like a light extension offer of five years and $70 million last spring, it never seemed likely the fan favorite would come back to the Cubs, but there were rumblings all through the lockout and even early this week that talks might be happening.
Instead, at least as things currently stand, Chicago will head into the season with Frank Schwindel entrenched at first – hoping he can replicate his late-season success from a year ago. His glove leaves plenty to be desired, but when you’re comparing just about anyone to Rizzo, odds are they pale in comparison.
Perhaps someday, the seemingly damaged relationship between the organization and Rizzo will be repaired, but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. After he was traded to the Bronx the day before the deadline last July, Rizzo and Cubs president Jed Hoyer exchanged barbs in radio interviews which, when paired, with the spat over spring contract negotiations, painted an ugly picture.
Cubs can move forward while Yankees bet on Anthony Rizzo moving forward
Regardless of how it ended, there’s no disputing the fact Rizzo left a lasting mark on the Cubs franchise. After coming over via trade from San Diego, the Florida native won four Gold Gloves, a Platinum Glove, a Silver Slugger and, of course, played an integral part in ending a 108-year championship drought back in 2016.
The Yankees are hoping the promise shown in advanced metrics are correct in assuming Rizzo still has plenty left in the tank and that the last two years aren’t a sign of things to come. That’s not to say he’s been a bad player by any stretch, but at $16 million annually, you’re hoping he can do more with the bat than be a just below league average offensive first baseman.
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Last year, he put up a 112 OPS+ with Chicago and a 110 mark with the Yankees, but since the start of 2020, he’s slashed just .240/.343/.432 – a far cry from his peak performance from 2014-2019, when he hit .284/.388/.513 for the Cubs.
A Cubs legend forever, it’s time for a new chapter – for the team and for Rizzo.