Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Chicago Cubs have offered first baseman Anthony Rizzo a contract extension.
As Heyman notes, the two sides are still not at the point of agreeing to terms just yet. However, the Cubs getting the ball rolling on negotiations is certainly a positive development in what is sure to be a fluid process throughout.
Time is of the essence here, especially considering the 2021 MLB regular season begins in under a week. If the two sides are not able to reach a pact before Opening Day, talks will most likely come to a halt and not be reopened until either the end of the season or the early stages of next offseason.
To further complicate matters, Rizzo is not the only player the Cubs have to think about extending. Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras are all due for new contracts when the 2021 season comes to an end as well. It will be an extremely tall task to sign all four core pieces to contract extensions in one season or offseason.
Let's Break It Down
Anthony Rizzo is entering his tenth season as a Chicago Cub and will turn 32 years old during the 2021 campaign. He is undoubtedly the leader of this team, and manager David Ross can typically depend on his veteran first baseman to suit up and play 140-plus games per season. 2021 marks the final year of Rizzo's current contract and he is set to make $16.5 million this season.
Let's take a look at other highly regarded first basemen around the league for the sake of comparison. In 2021, Joey Votto of the Reds will make $22.5 million, the Cardinals will pay Paul Goldschmidt $26 million, Freddie Freeman will haul in $16.8 million from the Braves, and Eric Hosmer is set to make $18 million down in San Diego.
It's reasonable to expect Rizzo will earn somewhere around $20 million, but the length of his contract becomes the burning question. 32 years of age isn't considered "young" in MLB circles, but Rizzo hasn't given the Cubs any reason to think he is breaking down. Taking that into consideration, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see a potential Rizzo contract extension run as long as five years.
My expectation is that Rizzo will eventually sign for either four years/$80 million or five years/$100 million and retire a Cub down the road. Regardless of what the fine details of a potential extension may look like, Anthony Rizzo is a Chicago Cub and the front office should do whatever it takes to make sure he plays his last games in Cubbie blue.