Cubs Giving Anthony Rizzo Short-Term Offer ‘Not Out of the Realm’

The Cubs shouldn’t be in the market for a first baseman because they’ve got the best player in baseball, Frank Schwindel, already entrenched there. But the designated hitter is more or less assured of coming to the NL permanently and Jed Hoyer desperately needs to add left-handed thunder to the lineup. A little fan service wouldn’t be a bad idea either, which is why Anthony Rizzo makes sense as a target.

The 32-year-old is coming off of a pair of disappointing seasons and is no longer in line for the kind of deal he should have commanded even a year ago, but he’s still an above-average hitter and he can pick it over at first. He’s also the kind of leader the Cubs might want to have in the clubhouse as they look to once again climb out of the doldrums. If nothing else, maybe Rizzo can pick another fight with the Reds.

What’s funny is that after roundly criticizing the Cubs for low-balling Rizzo with extension offers, things have come around to the point where both player’s and the team’s objectives may align more closely. Hoyer is all about staying short term, to the point that he’s willing to overpay a little in terms of average annual value. Rizzo is a little long in the tooth and it’s starting to show, so anything he gets at four or more years is probably going to drastically reduce his AAV.

Michael Cerami of Bleacher Nation recently dug into what it would take for a reunion to happen, mercifully getting to three years and $45-48 million after several hundred words. I just can’t believe anyone would carry on with all sorts of contextual falderal before finally arriving at something resembling a cogent thought. Oh shit, is my projection showing?

Ed. note: I was just kidding there, even though Michael a) probably won’t read this, and b) would probably would have understood if he did read it.

That piece actually set up a question on 670 The Score’s Inside the Clubhouse, with David Haugh asking Bruce Levine about the viability of Cerami’s scenario. From the sounds of it, the concept of a shorter deal with higher AAV is exactly what the Cubs are thinking.

“I’ve heard that’s possible,” Levine said of a reunion. “I’ve heard that it’s not out of the realm of giving a two or three-year contract. What if you heard, once the lockout ends, that the Cubs signed Rizzo to a two-year, $40M contract with a third-year option. Would that be shocking to you?”

Ooh, the intrigue. There are lots of other moving parts to this whole thing — from Schwindel and the DH to the Yankees’ possible pursuit of Freddie Freeman to the availability of Matt Olson on the trade market — so it’s all pretty muddled. We also need to consider how Rizzo wants to approach what could be the final years of his career. I’ve heard from sources that he’d be amenable to a deal with the Marlins in order to be close to home, so that can’t be discounted.

And maybe being traded for the third time was enough to make Rizzo want to lock in a little more security toward the end rather than ending up as someone who gets bounced around as a situational bat late in his career. That worked out really well for Joc Pederson, though, so maybe there’s merit in being desired by a contender. Of course, the Braves were in nearly the exact same spot as the Cubs when that deal went down.

Then there’s the whole lockout thing prohibiting any moves at all from taking place, so I suppose that will need to be figured out first. Once things return back to some semblance of normal, something we’ve now been waiting on for nearly two full years, I can definitely see Rizzo and the Cubs having talks. I can also see talk about Rizzo and the Cubs being very good positive PR at a time when MLB has precious little of it.

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