Anthony Rizzo is not the most talented member of the Chicago Cubs – that would probably be Kris Bryant. He’s also not the most popular (Javy Baez), the most exciting (Willson Contreras), or the most athletic (insert many other players on the roster (sorry, Tony)). But if you ask most Cubs fans in Chicago who’d they’d like to see end their career on the North Side, I guarantee you’ll get “Rizzo” as an answer more than anyone else.
Fortunately – for us – the Cubs can keep Rizzo in Chicago for at least the next three seasons, thanks to a below-market extension he signed with the club back in 2013.
And if you’re checking your calendars at home, that means Rizzo, entering his age 29-season, will be with the Cubs through his age-31 season. But what about after that? Rizzo won’t be a spring chicken come 2022, but a 32-year-old first baseman is hardly too old for the position. And given how uniquely consistent Rizzo has been at the plate and on the field over the past few years, it seems like the team would want to keep him around, even discounting his popularity among fans (and everything else he does for this city).
But what about Rizzo? Does he want to stick around? As it turns out … yeah, yeah he does: “I love this city and everything we have done here,” Rizzo said via 670 The Score. “The fans, the people, the hospitality we get in Chicago — I feel like Chicago is home for me. Two more years after this year is the contract. Right now, I can never visualize playing for another team.”
Rizzo was sure to quickly concede that he’d be “naive” to not understand that this is still a business, but I’ll speak for the rest of us when I say I hope he’d be the one guy the Cubs would go out of their way to accommodate (especially considering how many years of cheap value he’s already provided).
For what it’s worth, Rizzo is aware of how affordable he’s been over the past few years, but is also aware of how that can change: “When I signed the deal, I knew if I panned out to be who I thought I would be, I would be underpaid,” Rizzo said. “I think in a couple of years it will probably even out if I continue to play the way I know I can play.”
Rizzo is correct about one thing: Whether it’s the Cubs or someone else, he will get an impressive contract when his time comes if he keeps performing the way he has. All the off-field stuff certainly helps, but let’s remember this is a high-quality first baseman – one of the best in baseball.
But since our focus (and hope) is that he remains with the Cubs, I’m sure we all want to know … is anything brewing? Well, after insisting that his focus remains on winning in 2019 (he has to say that), he did leave us with this little nugget: “There has been a little bit (of conversation),” Rizzo said. “There is nothing to where we are going to put pen to paper yet. Obviously, it is no secret I want to be a Cub for my whole career. It would be very special to do that. ”
Oh! There has been a little bit of conversation, you say? That’s new. The front office has never been shy about showering Rizzo with love, but they are notoriously tight-lipped about anything contractually related. But Rizzo spilled the beans a bit today, implying that the conversations have been started and I’m so happy to learn that.
Obviously, we don’t have any more details than that right now – and I wouldn’t expect it any time soon – so all we can do is wait and hope. But from the sound of it, Rizzo, the front office, and almost every Cubs fan I know wants this to happen. Let’s make everyone happy, shall we?