Cubs Exercise $16.5M Option on Anthony Rizzo

In what is probably the least surprising move of the offseason, the Cubs have picked up their $16.5 million team option on Anthony Rizzo for 2020. The first baseman still has one more year left at the same figure, so expect him to remain in Chicago for at least that long. Well, unless he just falls off a cliff and the $2 million buyout becomes more attractive, but that ain’t happening.

This comes a day after the Cubs’ picked up José Quintana‘s option and bought out Derek Holland out for $500,000 rather than pay him $6.5 million to not retire righties. The only team option remaining at this point is on Kendall Graveman, whose $3 million might look like a bargain if he’s able to provide any impact this season. He’s also got a minor-league option remaining, not to mention an arbitration year in 2021, so the flexibility alone is worth quite a bit.

Back to Rizzo, whose contractual value varies a little based on what sites you check. Spotrac shows the next two seasons at $14.5 million apiece, while Baseball Reference and all the reports have the number at $16.5 million. So what gives? Rizzo had an escalator clause in the deal that bumped the contract by $1 million in 2019 and $2 million in ’20 and ’21 with either an MVP win or two top-5 MVP finishes during the deal.

Rizzo finished fourth in the voting in both 2015 and ’16, thereby triggering the higher values. In the interest of fairness, Spotrac does have the escalators noted despite not updating their figures on his annual values. And if you’re interested in other contract riders, Rizzo’s deal includes a hotel suite when the Cubs are on the road.

He may need that extra room if he ever re-injures his ankle and has to lug a bowling ball around at the end of his leg again.

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