It’s been eminently clear since at least 2014 that Anthony Rizzo was the undisputed leader of the Cubs team that eventually won the World Series. (You do remember the Rizzo/Aroldis Chapman kerfuffle in Cincinnati in July 2014, right?)
Both on and off the field Rizzo has exhibited these leadership skills. Beyond being one of the best players on the team, he’s become beloved by fans, and the charitable work he does for pediatric cancer is more than just typical of the sort, he does it because he’s a pediatric cancer survivor himself. He’s sort of the “Mr. Cub” of this generation, and that’s no slight to Ernie Banks, that’s high praise for someone who deserves it.
Rizzo will apparently be back with the Cubs in 2021:
While teams have declined options on some big-name players across baseball, the Cubs are planning to pick up the final season of Anthony Rizzo’s contract ($16.5 million).— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) October 30, 2020
As Patrick Mooney notes, several big-name players — of note, Kolten Wong of the Cardinals — have had their options declined, that probably was never a choice for the Cubs. Regardless of what the baseball budget is for 2021, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts understands Rizzo’s value to the franchise and undoubtedly approved this expenditure.
Personally, I would like to see Rizzo never play a game in another uniform. Yes, I know he’s now 31, he had a mediocre season in 2020 (though so did a lot of players in this weird year), and his skills might very well decline in his 30s.
He means enough to the team and I think his performance will be good enough to keep him around, at least, say, until he’s 35 or so. Of course, baseball finances are in uncharted waters and it seems unlikely anyone gets a big-time contract extension in the next year or so.
But for now, Rizzo will be a Cub, at least for one more year.
The Cubs have one further option decision, on Daniel Descalso, who would be paid $2.5 million in 2021. They are likely to decline that and pay him a $1 million buyout instead:
Cubs still have to make decisions on '21 options for Rizzo and Descalso by Sunday. Could come as early as Saturday.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 30, 2020
Expectation is that Rizzo's $16.5M option will be picked up, and Descalso will have a $1M buyout coming: https://t.co/2AE7evLYYE
As always, we await developments.