Cubs cornerstone Anthony Rizzo is scheduled to become a free agent next offseason, but the three-time All-Star first baseman said Friday he’s “optimistic” about reaching an extension with the club, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweets. Rizzo suggested he’d like to get it done by Opening Day, which doesn’t leave much time for the two sides to hammer out a deal. But there’s plenty of goodwill between the Cubs and Rizzo, who helped them to their first World Series title in 108 years in 2016 and has been a gem for the franchise on and off the field. Unfortunately for Rizzo, he seems to be vying for an extension at an inopportune time, as the 31-year-old recorded an uncharacteristically mediocre line of .222/.342/.414 with 11 home runs in 243 trips to the plate in 2020.
- The Royals and shortstop Adalberto Mondesi have recently discussed an extension, Robert Murray of FanSided reports, but it doesn’t seem as if an agreement is imminent. A source told Murray there’s “a lot to work through” in order for a deal to come together for Mondesi, who is only in the first of three arbitration-controlled years. The 25-year-old will earn $2.525MM this season after slashing .256/.294/.416 with six home runs and a major league-leading 24 stolen bases over 233 plate appearances in 2020.
- With right-hander Miles Mikolas out for the beginning of the regular season, fellow righty John Gant is in line to open 2021 as the Cardinals’ No. 5 starter, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Daniel Ponce de Leon, Jake Woodford and Johan Oviedo are still competing for the role, but Gant is the favorite to join Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Kwang Hyun Kim and Carlos Martinez in their rotation, per Goold. Gant, 28, hasn’t started a game since 2018, though he has put up useful numbers from both the St. Louis rotation and bullpen.
- After the Reds added infielder Jonathan India and left-hander Brandon Finnegan to their major league spring roster on Friday, manager David Bell told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com and other reporters that “they’re officially” in the running to make the team. India, the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft, reached the Double-A level in 2019 and batted .270/.414/.378 with three homers, four steals and almost as many unintentional walks (22) as strikeouts (26). Finnegan, once a top 100 prospect, appeared with the Reds in each season from 2015-18, but shoulder problems had a negative effect on him during that stretch. He put up a 7.40 ERA with 15 unintentional walks and 14 strikeouts over 20 2/3 frames in his most recent MLB season.