With up to two years of club control remaining, “there’s not much urgency” for Anthony Rizzo or the Cubs to explore a new contract, the first baseman told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday. As you’d expect, however, the franchise icon hopes to ink a long-term pact with the Cubs sometime in the next couple years.
“I do want to stay here. I do want to be a Cub,” said Rizzo, who celebrated his 30th birthday Thursday.
Unlike most players, Rizzo landed a hefty contract toward the beginning of his career. Early in the 2013 season, just over a year after Chicago acquired Rizzo from San Diego in what became a steal of a trade, the Cubs locked him up to a seven-year, $41MM guarantee. Rizzo is in the last of those guaranteed seasons at the moment, but as of now, the Cubs are sure to exercise his $16.5MM options for each of the next two years. Thanks to the money he has collected (and will continue to collect) on his current deal, Rizzo told Wittenmyer he’s “set, financially,” which is an important reason he doesn’t feel the need to push for another payday yet.
Now in his eighth season with the Cubs, Rizzo’s enjoying yet another strong campaign, having slashed .284/.389/.511 with 21 home runs in 473 plate appearances. Since he first graced Chicago’s lineup, Rizzo has batted .275/.374/.494 with 211 HRs, 28.5 fWAR and three All-Star nods over 4,880 PA. He also helped the Cubs to an elusive world championship in 2016, and is generally regarded as one of the best people in baseball.
Rizzo’s near-spotless track record doesn’t mean the Cubs will pony up for him when the time comes, as plenty can change before his control expires. However, if he stays on his current track, Rizzo may have a case for a nine-figure contract soon. The archrival Cardinals handed fellow superstar first baseman Paul Goldschmidt a five-year, $130MM extension prior to this season, which could give Rizzo something to aim for. That accord won’t kick in until next year, Goldschmidt’s age-32 season.
While Goldschmidt has posted a better career than Rizzo in terms of individual numbers and awards, the latter hasn’t been that far below him since breaking out in 2014. Rizzo has actually been the superior player this year to Goldschmidt, who’s now amid the worst season of his career. Of course, if Goldschmidt’s unexpected slide continues, it could influence the Cubs to tread lightly on a bank-breaking Rizzo deal. Even though Rizzo has provided the Cubs immense on- and off-field value throughout his career, he acknowledged to Wittenmyer that “this is a business, and it’s as cutthroat as ever, right now especially – all sports, not just baseball.”