Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is one of the fastest-rising stars in MLB. From his World Baseball Classic heroics with the Italian national team to his booming power as a member of the Cubs, he seems to have it all.
UPDATE: Monday, May 13 at 3:16 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow
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Chicago Cubs @Cubs
#Cubs and 1B Anthony Rizzo have agreed to terms on a seven-year contract (2013-2019) that includes club options for the 2020, 2021 seasons.5/13/2013, 4:06:29 PM
Rosenthal breaks down the deal in the column provided, including the fact that Rizzo will see an immediate pay increase (via Fox Sports).
For those convinced that this is a favorable deal for the Cubs only, note that there are plenty of incentives involved. That could run the numbers up significantly, thus rewarding Rizzo for his elite play.
Rosenthal added more on the deal in a follow-up tweet.
Regardless of what he makes, Rizzo will be in Windy City for a long time coming. The first baseman has made his mark with the Cubs since coming over from the San Diego Padres, hitting .280 with nine home runs and 28 RBI through his first 37 games. For those keeping track, that puts him on pace to finish the 2013 regular season with 39 home runs and 123 RBI.
The key to this deal isn't just that Rizzo is locked up, however, but the way in which the Cubs did it. General manager Theo Epstein, known for his ability to turn a franchise around, invested in his future and covered all of his bases while doing so.
Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Cubs reserve the right to trade Rizzo over the course of the contract.
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
Sources: #Cubs agree with Rizzo on 7-year, $41 million contract. Deal runs from 2013 through ’19. Story coming on http://t.co/zOZKNMciXb.5/13/2013, 1:56:43 AM
Rizzo has shown all signs of being their franchise player, but this leaves the door open for a franchise-saving move should it all go south.
As for those who are wondering where this deal came from, perhaps we should have seen it coming. After all, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts all but told the media this was the wise move to make.
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, we just had to read between the lines.
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
To clarify on #Cubs’ Rizzo: 7/41, poss 9/68 w two club opts at 14.5 each. Poss 9/73 w escalators. Full explanation: http://t.co/Flhl6HAc8X5/13/2013, 2:47:22 AM
Rizzo was set to make $498,000 for the 2013 regular season, but the Cubs acted quickly to improve their star's morale. This comes with good reason, as he is fourth in the National League in home runs and fifth in RBI.
Rizzo also ranks in the top 30 in Wins Above Replacement (WAR)—the most popular modern-day method for gauging a player's value.
While it's unclear whether or not he will live up to the value, Rizzo already has extraordinary power and a rapidly developing all-around game. There is a risk, but all signs point toward him being a franchise cornerstone.
It's too early to say for sure, but this appears to be a step in the right direction for the Cubs.