The Chicago Cubs have locked up another core piece for a long time, signing first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a seven-year, $41 million extension, according to multiple reports. The deal includes the 2013 season, so it runs through 2019, and is more like a six-year extension than a seven-year extension. It buys out one free agent year, though, so you could even characterize it as a one-year extension, and you wouldn’t be totally wrong. The deal keeps Rizzo with the Cubs through at least his age 29 season. As you would expect from this front office, the contract does not include a no-trade clause.
The deal includes two team options tacked onto the end, and the total value of the deal could reach $73 million, according to Ken Rosenthal, who had the deal first. The final structure of the deal hasn’t yet been announced, but you can expect that there will probably be a modest signing bonus, and then annually increasing salaries for 2014 through 2019.
Rizzo, 23, was (very likely) eligible for arbitration in 2015 as a Super Two, so the deal covers two pre-arb seasons, four arbitration seasons, and one free agent year. Obviously the real value for the Cubs is the cost certainty and the two option years, which are reportedly for $14.5 million – that could be a steal come 2020 and 2021. Baseball is all about locking up your young talent these days, and the Cubs are not playing the exception.
For Rizzo, he now has his huge payday locked in, and is set for life. I love these pre-arbitration extensions, as they represent one of the few times you can really achieve a win-win for the team and the player, where both sides feel like they got a great deal.
Your quick ballpark (read: me totally guesstimating) on what Rizzo would have received via arbitration had he not signed this deal (assuming he keeps developing and producing) is something like … $500K this year, $600K for 2014, $4 million for 2015, $6 million for 2016, $9 million for 2017, $12 million for 2018, and $17 million for 2019. That’s about $49 million, and that doesn’t include the value of the option years, so this looks like a pretty team-friendly extension, though not one that absolutely blows you away.
That’s not to say that this comes without risk, of course: by guaranteeing all this money up front, the Cubs assume the risk of Rizzo’s knee exploding or his batting eye falling out of his head. That’s the trade-off for the team-friendly deal.
Together with Starlin Castro’s extension signed last August, the Cubs now have Rizzo and Castro under contract through 2019. If you’re looking for the prime window of competitiveness, you can bet the Cubs hope it will last from around 2015 to 2019, at least.
The Rizzo extension has not been formally announced just yet, and I expect we’ll see a fancy press conference scheduled soon.
UPDATE for posterity: It’s now official.