Anthony Rizzo's $16.5M Contract Option for 2021 Exercised by Cubs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2020

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo (44) rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams, bottom, during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

In 2019, Anthony Rizzo said he wanted to be a member of the Chicago Cubs for the rest of his career.

While it remains to be seen if that will be the case, the 31-year-old will at least be with the team for another year after the Cubs exercised their club option in his contract worth $16.5 million for 2021 on Saturday. 

"No doubt I could never see myself playing anywhere else, at least by my choice," Rizzo said in 2019, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "Obviously I can't control what happens, but to be able to play here for basically my whole career would be pretty special. You look at the guys who have done that, especially with this franchise ... all the guys that have played here before us. It'd be cool to end my career here."

That was the sentiment then, but there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Cubs' core in August.

"I'm not going to shy away from it; this could be our last year together," Rizzo told reporters then. "I think we all know that, especially with the state of the game ...This could be our last run with all of our core guys."

Outside of Rizzo's contract situation, the Cubs had a club option for 2021 for Jon Lester, while Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber were all scheduled for free agency following the 2021 campaign.

That group played a massive part in one of the most successful stretches in Cubs history.

Chicago famously snapped a 108-year drought with its 2016 World Series crown and also reached the National League Championship Series in 2015 and 2017. It is also the reigning National League Central champion.

The Cubs traded for Rizzo in 2012, and he has since become the face of the franchise. He is a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner who also won the Silver Slugger in 2016 and finished in the top 20 in MVP voting five straight years from 2014 through 2018.

He slashed .222/.342/.414 with 11 home runs and 24 RBI in 58 games during the truncated 2020 campaign and figures to remain effective in the immediate future at 31 years old. 

If nothing else, Rizzo will remain the heart and soul of the Cubs for as long as he is wearing their uniform.