Anthony Rizzo Rumors
At one point, the Dodgers might have been two days away from firing manager Don Mattingly, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. That was on June 21, when the Dodgers were 30-42 following their second straight loss to the Padres. Shaikin cites a source saying that if the Dodgers had lost the last two games of that four-game series, they would have dismissed Mattingly. Since then, the Dodgers have got 46-11, and Mattingly appears to be a contender for the NL Manager of the Year award. Here are more notes from out west.
- For the Angels, one of the few bright sides of an awful season is that they now have the opportunity to see which of their zero-to-three players can help in the near future, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez writes. Gonzalez notes that, with several big contracts (Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson) consuming much of their payroll, it's particularly important that the Angels get value out of cost-controlled players. The Angels will look to players like Grant Green, Chris Nelson and Cory Rasmus (all of whom were acquired this year) to see if they might be able to contribute.
- Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo have become friends since being traded for each other in early 2012, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Rizzo says he's rooting for a win-win deal. "I hope [Cashner] has a great career; I hope I have a great career as well," Rizzo says. "There’s no winning or losing this trade. … I hope we both have Hall of Fame careers and everyone’s a winner.”
It could be argued that Anthony Rizzo cost himself some arbitration riches by signing a seven-year, $41MM contract extension with the Cubs, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports sees Rizzo's logic. As Rosenthal explains in his latest Hot Corner video, Rizzo's personal history --- including a past brush with Hodgkin's lymphoma and a demotion to the minors when with the Padres --- could've played a role in his accepting the security of a multiyear deal. Rizzo entered the season with less than a full year of service time, plus Rosenthal notes that Rizzo will still get a crack at free agency. If the Cubs pick up both option years on the deal, Rizzo could hit the market at age 32, young enough to score another nice contract.
Let's check in with some more news from around the NL Central...
- Also from Rosenthal's video, he praises the Cardinals' depth at both the major and minor league levels, giving the team great flexibility in case of injuries or if they want to pursue a trade.
- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is an unsung figure in the club's organizational success, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes. Miklasz chronicles how DeWitt championed the analytical process of then-vice president Jeff Luhnow (now the Astros' GM) that helped the Cards develop their highly-regarded minor league system.
- Francisco Rodriguez received a few Major League offers from other clubs this winter, the reliever tells MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, but Rodriguez chose to instead sign a minor league deal with the Brewers due to his familiarity with the organization. "There were a few teams out there, but I was waiting for the right opportunity," Rodriguez said. "I had a few options I could have taken to be at the big league level right away, but I wasn't ready physically to make that commitment."
- The Brewers' limited trade options, and a possible Jean Segura contract extension are amongst the topics covered by Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in his reader mailbag.
Earlier today, the Cubs confirmed last night's reports of a seven-year extension for Anthony Rizzo. At today's press conference to announce the move, general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, that the deal was first discussed in Spring Training, and talks accelerated in the past 10 days (Twitter link). Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago adds (also via Twitter) that the contract was actually finalized last week; Rizzo took his physical his physical on the Cubs' off-day. Here's more on the Cubs in what will go down as a critical day in their franchise's history...
- Jeff Samardzija's agent Mark Rogers tells Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago that there are still no talks on the extension front with his client. The two sides will re-visit discussions in the offseason to see if they can hammer out a long-term deal Samardzija is controlled through the 2015 season. The Cubs consider Samardzija "one of their upper-tier starters of the future," writes Levine.
- Selecting a pitcher with the No. 2 pick in this year's draft "appears to be a sure thing," Levine adds. Stanford right-hander Mark Appel and Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray are the consensus top two arms in the draft right now, though Levine doesn't list any specific names.
- In addition to extending Samardzija, signing one other free agent starter this offseason "seems essential" to Levine. That would give the Cubs a pitching core of Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, the pitcher selected second in the 2013 draft, and a solid free agent, with another high draft pick in 2014 likely on the horizon. Here's a look at all of the available 2014 free agents.
- David Kaplan of CSN Chicago offers a similar sentiment, stating that fans should expect the Cubs to spend on free agency once again this coming offseason. Multiple Major League sources, including an AL front-office executive, told Kaplan they expect the Cubs to be in on the top free agent names this offseason, including Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, of course, was drafted by Cubs president Theo Epstein when he was GM of the Red Sox.
- MLBTR collected some reactions to Rizzo's extension from around the web earlier today, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
The Cubs made their seven-year, $41MM extension of Anthony Rizzo official earlier today and will hold a press conference to announce the move at 3pm. Rizzo and the Cubs are the talk of the blogosphere right now, so here are some media reactions from around the web...
- The Cubs are preparing to market Rizzo as the new face of the franchise, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The contract also shows Rizzo's desire to be a Cub for life, as Rizzo would surely have made more going year to year. Sullivan adds that Jeff Samardzija is now likely the next extension target for the Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein, and Travis Wood may not be far behind.
- Both sides have received security in this deal, writes Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, who adds that Rizzo may not have to wait until this deal's completion to sign a new contract. Rogers points to Evan Longoria, who signed a new $100MM extension midway through his last conract and says that Rizzo can likely expect that kind of treatment from Hoyer and Epstein if he remains productive.
- Rizzo's new contract "looks fantastic" for the Cubs in the mind of SB Nation's Rob Neyer. Neyer goes on to point out that the Cubs control Rizzo's age 23-31 seasons for roughly $7.5MM per year, and that those are typically the best seasons of any player's career.
- Part of the reason the Cubs thought it prudent to extend Rizzo was that he stood to make a considerable amount of money as a Super Two player, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). Sherman points to the case of fellow Super Two player Hunter Pence, whose four arbitration years cost $34.6MM. The Cubs were able to secure control of three free agent years by guaranteeing just $7MM more than that.
- Yet again, it looks like Hoyer will come out as the victor in a deal involving Rizzo, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. Hoyer was an Assistant GM with the Red Sox when Rizzo was drafted, the Padres GM when they acquired Rizzo in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, and the GM of the Cubs when they acquired him from the Padres for Andrew Cashner last year.
The Cubs have a new face of the franchise, and his name is Anthony Rizzo. The team announced today that it has officially signed the 23-year-old first baseman to an extension covering the 2013-19 seasons, which is reportedly worth $41MM.
The new deal overrides Rizzo's existing 2013 contract, and is therefore essentially a six-year extension. Rizzo will reportedly receive a $2MM signing bonus and earn $750K in 2013. He'll make $1.25MM in 2014, $5MM in 2015-16, $7MM in 2017-18 and $11MM in 2019. The two options are worth $14.5MM each. Rizzo is a client of Sports One Athlete Management.
Rizzo's contract contains escalators could drive the total value of the deal to $73MM. The contract does not contain a no-trade clause, though Rizzo may be able to void the 2021 option under certain conditions if he is traded.
Last August, the Cubs signed shortstop Starlin Castro, their other key young offensive player, to a seven-year deal that also contained guaranteed money through 2019. Rizzo, 23, is currently hitting .288/.361/.554, and he has a line of .255/.333/.437 for his career. The Cubs acquired Rizzo and a minor-leaguer from the Padres before the 2012 season for Andrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na.
Without the extension, Rizzo would have been eligible for Super Two status after the 2014 season, Rosenthal notes. Rizzo would have been arbitration-eligible four times, and could not have become a free agent until after the 2018 season, so this deal buys out one year of free agency eligibility and gives the Cubs the rights to two more.
Rizzo's deal tops the five-year, $32MM extension for Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, to which the two sides agreed shortly before the start of the season. Like Rizzo, Goldschmidt would have been eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season, although Goldschmidt was scheduled to become a free agent a year earlier. Significantly, however, Rizzo is two years younger than Goldschmidt, and would have been eligible for free agency heading into his age-29 season. With the two team options, Rizzo's extension ensures the Cubs can keep him under control through 2021, after which he will be 32.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the seven-year agreement. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the contract contains a pair of options but does not include a no-trade clause He also added the contract breakdown (All Twitter links). Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago added that Rizzo could be able to void the 2021 option if traded (Twitter link).
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner feels that the January 2012 trade that sent him to San Diego (with Kyung-Min Na) for Anthony Rizzo and Zach Cates was good for him and for Rizzo, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "I think it was a trade that certainly worked out well for both players involved," Cashner says. "The pitcher got to move to a pitcher’s ballpark. The hitter got to move to a hitter’s ballpark."
Rizzo, meanwhile, feels there wasn't a place for him in San Diego. "As soon as they traded for Yonder Alonso, I don’t think I was in the Padres’ plans," he says. "I can understand it. Yonder was probably better suited to Petco Park than I was." Rizzo had a strong season with the Cubs in 2012, while Cashner has struck out 19 batters in his first 19 1/3 innings in 2013 while showing off mid-90s velocity. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- The Phillies face "major questions," Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci writes. Pitchers Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will cost the team $64.5MM in 2013, but it's questionable whether the rest of the roster can support them, Verducci argues. Big expenditures on those three pitchers, plus star veterans Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, meant the Phillies had to build a cheap outfield, says Verducci. The biggest problem in the outfield so far this season, however, is that Domonic Brown and Ben Revere have struggled. Those players aren't highly-paid, but they also aren't on the roster merely because they're cheap. Revere posted 3.1 wins above replacement in 2012, and Brown was a highly-regarded prospect. "We have a lot of guys in the outfield who have never done it over a full season and are starting to get older, as far as being considered young players," a Phillies employee says.
- Jim Thome, who played for the Phillies and Orioles in 2012, is hoping to return to baseball later this season, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "He still thinks he can play," says Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He misses the game. Baseball is his identity. That’s all he’s done for 20-some years or so. He's kind of having a hard time adjusting."
- Before a strong start today against Reno, top Mets prospect Zack Wheeler was struggling to adjust at Triple-A Las Vegas, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. Mets fans are waiting for Wheeler to join the big-league rotation. "Obviously I want to be up there, but you can’t think about it because it will distract you, take your mind off what you’re trying to do down here," Wheeler says. Wheeler currently has a 4.80 ERA. Las Vegas is one of the toughest places to pitch in the minor leagues, however, and the fact that he's allowed a few too many runs there might not mean Wheeler isn't ready for the Majors, especially with 10.8 K/9 so far this year.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum is upset with his team's recent play and says that players who don't perform won't have big-league jobs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports. That goes for top young players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. "I don’t think [anyone’s] invincible if you’re not performing," Sveum says regarding Castro and Rizzo. "It’s not about what we think can happen three or four years from now. It’s time to perform on a consistent basis."
Wittenmyer writes that Sveum's harsh words for Castro and Rizzo "threw a sudden dose of skepticism and doubt into the widespread assumptions about the Cubs’ core," but acknowledges that, in reality, Castro and Rizzo will be with the Cubs for the foreseeable future. Sveum is suggesting they might be demoted, but that seems extremely unlikely, and it's even less likely that either of them would be traded. The Cubs signed Castro to a seven-year, $60MM contract last August. Rizzo is not signed to a long-term deal. Both players have hit well this season despite occasional mistakes in the field. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- John Poloni -- also known as the "fat scout" in Michael Lewis' Moneyball -- lobbied for the Athletics to draft Tim Hudson in 1997, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Hudson wasn't regarded as a top draft prospect due to his size, but Poloni told the A's that Hudson had "the best sinker he'd ever seen." 16 years later, Hudson is nearing his 200th win in the big leagues. That doesn't mean Poloni is rushing to take credit, however. "He exceeded my expectations, too," Poloni says. "A lot of times, it's pure luck."
- Last offseason's big-ticket free agents haven't performed well so far, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Rick Hummel. One of the highest-profile disappointments thus far has probably been Josh Hamilton of the Angels, although it's still early enough in the season that one big series could make any player's statistics look considerably better.
This week features the 2012 debuts of two of baseball’s top young players: Anthony Rizzo and Trevor Bauer. Much anticipation has preceded the debuts of Rizzo and Bauer, who both entered the season among the top 50 prospects in the game, according to Baseball America. However, service time considerations vary from player to player, and Rizzo's case is completely different from Bauer's. Here’s a detailed look at both situations:
- Anthony Rizzo - The first baseman debuted Tuesday, so he’ll accrue 100 days of service time assuming he stays in the Major Leagues for the remainder of the season. He picked up 68 days of service time under Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on last year’s Padres team, so he’s on track to have 168 days of service following the 2012 season. Players need 172 days of service time for a full year, so Rizzo’s expected to fall just short. This means he’ll be under Cubs control through 2018 as opposed to 2017 and justifies the timing of the promotion. Rizzo’s on track for super two status following the 2014 season, meaning he'll likely go to arbitration four times.
- Trevor Bauer - Bauer will debut tonight, which means he’ll accrue 98 days of MLB service assuming the Diamondbacks don’t demote him between now and the end of the season. Bauer, a 2011 draft pick, doesn’t have any MLB service time yet, so he’s on track to finish the season with 98 days of service. Presumably this won’t be enough for him to qualify for super two status following the 2014 season. Like Rizzo, Bauer will remain under team control through 2018.
R.A. Dickey's streak of not allowing an earned run came to an end during the third inning of Sunday night's game against the Yankees. With 44 2/3 innings of earned run-free baseball, Dickey's performance pales in comparison to Orel Hershiser's record 59 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball set in 1988 while with the Dodgers. What makes Hershiser's feat even more impressive is that he actually continued the streak into the playoffs as he threw eight more run-free innings to give him 67 in total. Here's the latest news from around the league...
- Anthony Rizzo is expected to make his Cubs debut this Tuesday against the Mets at Wrigley Field, writes David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. The franchise's top prospect has mastered the art of hitting Triple-A pitching as he's currently the owner of a .349/.410/.710 batting line.
- Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 amateur draft, will make his Major League debut for the Diamondbacks on Thursday after enjoying extensive success at the minor league level, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com. The right-hander has a 2.79 ERA, 10.9 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 at Triple-A this season.
- The Mets are in desperate need of bullpen help, but will probably have to wait until after the All-Star break to make a move as there are currently very few sellers, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- Utility man Brent Lillibridge tweets his gratitude to the White Sox organization and his love for the city of Chicago as he looks forward to the next chapter of his career with the Red Sox. Lillibridge, 28, is headed to Boston after being traded with Zach Stewart in exchange for Kevin Youkilis and cash earlier on Sunday.
The Cubs traded Kyle Lohse to the Twins in a four-player trade on this date in 1999. Lohse, now a member of the Cardinals' rotation, is putting together a strong season as he approaches free agency. Here's the latest from the NL Central...
- The Pirates are "laughably overdue" for some offense, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Though few trades are completed in May and more teams than ever are in the playoff race thanks to the additional Wild Card berths, Kovacevic says the Pirates must find a way to add offense. No team in baseball has scored fewer runs than the Pirates, who are averaging just 2.9 runs per game.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the Cubs will be patient with Anthony Rizzo and that a promotion isn’t likely this month (Twitter link). The Cubs acquired the first base prospect from the Padres for Andrew Cashner last offseason, but first baseman Bryan LaHair is hitting well at the MLB level.
- The Brewers' decision to lock Jonathan Lucroy to an extension looks wise, Heyman writes. The 25-year-old catcher has a .342/.389/.550 batting line in 132 plate appearances this year.