The Cubs are almost certainly not going to be working out an extension with Anthony Rizzo this winter, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t discussed options. Marc Pollack, Rizzo’s agent, let it be known that a new deal “will not be addressed now,” but he didn’t quite offer full context for the situation. Not that it’s his responsibility to do so, mind you.
Jed Hoyer said Tuesday in San Diego that the Cubs have engaged in talks with several of their players, but declined to offer any specifics until being made aware of Pollack’s comments. As NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan shared on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, the GM then felt obliged to clarify a few points.
“We’ve had conversations with lots of our guys over a five-year period and it’s always best to keep it quiet,” Hoyer shared. “I think in this case, Rizzo’s agent decided to talk about it and we did have some conceptual talks about what an extension would look like and I think that, candidly, we were pretty far apart in terms of length and so he decided to come out and say that.
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) December 11, 2019
“But we love Rizz, you know? I hope he’s a Cub forever. There’s nothing that’s been done that’s going to stop future conversations, but we did have some conceptual conversations that obviously wasn’t [sic] a match at this time. But this is a moment in time. It doesn’t mean there’s not going to be a match at some point in the future.”
So what it basically all comes down to is that Pollack’s target number is way beyond what the Cubs were thinking, which makes sense when the team is scraping to find room for even bargain pitchers. And with Rizzo locked in for $16.5 million this year, plus another club option for the same amount next season, there isn’t much urgency to get something done. Trying to construct a competitive roster while limiting payroll plays an even bigger role.
“It’s often the case where you’re trying to serve multiple masters,” Theo Epstein said Monday. “Or you have to manage different parts of the roster, manage different windows, different periods of time, try to build health in the organization, put an emphasis on young players while simultaneously polish the major-league roster. It’s not that uncommon.”
Rizzo isn’t exactly young at this point, though he remains valuable to the team as a leader and run producer who plays Gold Glove defense at first base. Given how team-friendly his current deal has been, you can’t blame him for wanting to capitalize on what figures to be another few good years. Nor can you blame the front office for putting a hold on a new deal that could consume the entirety of their offseason budget.
God, this is depressing and disappointing to discuss.