Anthony Rizzo expressed his desire for a potential contract extension with the Cubs on Monday. Here’s why the Cubs should honor that desire.
On Monday, Rizzo hinted at his desire to remain with the Cubs after the 2021 Major League Baseball season. He stated, “I still love our team. I still love what we have going on here. And keeping everything here inside this building I think would be the smartest approach for everyone.”
However, it may be tough to keep everything inside the building, as two core members of the Cubs, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, are also in the final year of their deals. Rizzo is the oldest of the three at 31 years-old and is the longest tenured Cub on the roster.
Rizzo’s Numbers Show Why He Is More Deserving of an Extension than Bryant and Baez
Despite his age, Rizzo has been the most consistent performer on the current Cubs roster. He has 25 or more home-runs in six out of the last seven years. The only year he missed that mark was last year, which is not surprising considering there were only 60 games due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, in four out of the last seven years he’s had over 100 runs batted in.
And speaking of 2020, Rizzo outperformed both Baez and Bryant in the home-run category by knocking eleven out of the park. Bryant hit only four home-runs and Baez had eight. When it comes to runs batted in, Rizzo and Baez both had 24 while Bryant only managed eleven.
Bryant and Baez have also struggled with striking out their whole careers. Rizzo, on the other hand, has struck out only 15.8% during his time in the MLB. He also has been walked 11.8% of the time, which is way better than the league average. His plate discipline will allow him to continue to get on base consistently even if he somewhat declines offensively. Laying off balls will make pitchers put the ball in the strike zone. This can be beneficial to Rizzo maintaining success at the plate over the rest of his career.
For Bryant and Baez, their above-average strikeout rates could continue to hinder them at the plate. This could lead to a possible decline in overall performance. Therefore, Rizzo is likely the most low-risk extension candidate for the Cubs. Plus, he deserves an extension before both these candidates given his career numbers along with the veteran leadership he brings to the team.
Why An Extension for Rizzo Makes Sense from the Cubs Perspective
An extension would make complete sense for the Cubs. The reason being Rizzo would likely sign for a lot less than Baez and Bryant. Considering Rizzo is a lot older as well, he likely won’t ask for as many years as the other two. This would allow the Cubs to avoid a long-term commitment where they have to put an exponential amount of money on the table.
Overall, you know what you are getting with Rizzo as an organization. He is a competitor that helps the team win games and provides consistency for them year after year. Even if he somewhat struggles at the plate, he walks a lot and is great defensively. After all, he has won four gold gloves and solidified himself as one of the best defensive first baseman in the MLB.
Rizzo is a fan-favorite in Chicago and has done a lot for the organization on and off the field. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs extend him possibly as early as this spring. New President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, Jed Hoyer, has said he will sit down with Rizzo, Bryant, and Baez during Spring Training to discuss possible extensions. Rizzo was quoted saying, “Like Jed said, Spring Training is the perfect time — one way or the other”. Both sides clearly want to make an agreement making now the perfect time to extend the long-time Cub.
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