Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs announced that they’d reached a seven-year extension agreement with first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and then presented him a core piece of “the future” in a press conference at Wrigley Field. There were a lot of interesting reactions to the signing, all of which were positive …
- Dave Cameron at FanGraphs offered the most effusive praise of the signing, calling it the second time in a little over a year that the Cubs have scored big in a deal involving Rizzo. In a long piece well worth your time, Cameron compares Rizzo’s deal to the pre-arb extensions recently signed by Paul Goldschmidt and Allen Craig, and concludes not only that Rizzo is the superior player, but also that the Cubs got the best deal of the three. The piece is chock-full of quotable quotes, but I’ll go with this one as my favorite: “Rizzo’s power is carrying him at the moment, making up for the fact that he’s a bit too aggressive at the plate, but discipline develops with experience, and Rizzo should be able to add more walks to his profile before his power begins to decline. In his prime, Rizzo should develop into a +4 to +5 win first baseman. In terms of overall value, he projects to be not that different from what Prince Fielder is right now, with his better defense making up for the lower walk rate.”
- Keith Law, who pointed out some issues in Rizzo’s swing earlier this year before he exploded, said the signing was a “strong move” for the Cubs.
- Rob Neyer also applauds the deal for the Cubs, comparing Rizzo to another NL Central first baseman, Joey Votto – whose seasons in his 30s are going to cost the Reds three times as much as Rizzo’s seasons in his 20s. (It’s fun to think of it that way, but, let’s be honest, that’s mostly just a product of contract dynamics in MLB. Votto was going to be a free agent, and the Reds bought him out of that. The vast majority of Rizzo’s deal comes during years he was under (cheap) control already. That said, I think the more important point here is how valuable young, cost-controlled talent is.)
- At the press conference yesterday, neither Rizzo nor GM Jed Hoyer really said much that you wouldn’t expect. It was nice hearing Hoyer say this, though: “We’ve known Anthony for a long time. Theo, Jason and I have spent a lot of time with this guy and feel like we know him really well. Ultimately you want to build your team around people you trust, people you believe in, and I think today is a really good example that we believe in Anthony.” Talent and baseball ability matter, probably more than anything else. But when you’re able to find a core group of players who have talent, but are also good, trustworthy people? There’s an impact there, even if you can’t measure it with a statistic.
- Dale Sveum took the praise to the next level, saying that the deal is good for the City of Chicago. “In my position, it’s nice to have a guy projected for 30 [homers] and 100 RBIs in your lineup for the next seven-to-whatever years, especially with his makeup and defensive ability,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “It’s pretty important to all of us – the city and the organization – to have somebody like that locked up for that long. It’s a pretty special day for all of us.”
- Even Jon Greenberg, who will snark the crap out of you if you give him an inch, had nothing but good things to say about Rizzo and the Cubs for locking him up.
- James Russell had the best reaction to the extension, per Bruce Levine: “I am happy it happened to one of my friends so he can buy me dinners and lunches all the time. He can also take me and the guys out and pick up the bar tab.”