Chicago Cubs Rumors: Anthony Rizzo becomes a free agent

Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs and first baseman Anthony Rizzo will always be linked together due to the 10 seasons that Rizzo spent with the organization. During those 10 seasons, Rizzo became the unofficial captain of the team and will always be a folk hero for his efforts during the Cubs' World Series run in 2016.

Even since being traded by the Cubs to the New York Yankees during the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season, Rizzo's name has always been mentioned in close association with the Cubs.

There was speculation that the Cubs may look to form a reunion with Rizzo after the 2021 season but the lockout-riddled offseason suppressed Rizzo's market and led to the first baseman returning to the Yankees on a one-year deal with a player option for 2023.

With offseason activities returning to normalcy this winter, there was an expectation that Rizzo would opt out of his deal with the Yankees and test free agency. That expectation was confirmed on Tuesday when Rizzo officially made the decision to opt out of his deal with the Yankees and become a free agent.

Rizzo is expected to be extended a qualifying offer from the New York Yankees, $19.65MM salary for 2023, so any team interested in signing the veteran first baseman must be willing to sacrifice a draft pick if a deal is to be finalized.

Rizzo had a career-year with the Yankees in 2022 in regard to his power output as he matched his career-high for home runs with 32 and had a career best ISO of .252. Overall, Rizzo's slash line of .224/.338/.480/.817 was indicative of the power being a big part of his success with the Yankees last season.

Naturally, the Cubs are going to be mentioned as a potential suitor for Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs will always be linked together

The Frank Schwindel experiment proved to be a failure for the Cubs in 2022 and if the Cubs' offense is going to be successful in 2023, they are going to need consistent offensive production from the first base position.

Rizzo is likely going to be in the market for a three-year deal with an overall value of $70 million. Yes, that is the same deal that Rizzo was offended that the Cubs offered him towards the beginning of the 2021 season.

Next. Trea Turner channels inner "Mad Men" with Free Agent hype video . dark

For as important as Rizzo is to the Cubs' organization, he is not an important free agent for the Cubs to target this offseason. The addition of Rizzo would essentially block first base prospect, Matt Mervis, for the next three seasons and if intelligent spending is the motto for the Cubs' offseason, targeting a cheaper option such as Jose Abreu would provide a similar offensive impact for the team while also creating a clear path for Mervis if he proves to be ready in the early parts of the 2023 season.