Anthony Rizzo: Cubs Are A 'Very Humbled Group'

Rizzo still feels the sting of an 84-win season in 2019.

Bruce Levine
February 12, 2020 - 3:11 pm
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MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- Coming off a disappointing 84-win season that led to Joe Maddon's ouster as manager, the Cubs have much to prove in 2020.

First baseman and longtime team leader Anthony Rizzo understands that.

"We are a confident group," Rizzo said. "I also feel that it will be a thing that grows more and more as we play together this season. We are also a very humbled group right now. As the wheels get rolling and get into motion, it will be up to us how fast we want to go."

Related: Bernstein: Joe Maddon, Cubs can't live in the past

Rizzo's honest assessment continued when he was asked if the Cubs will have the proverbial chip on their shoulder this season.

"I don't see that we even deserve to have a chip on our shoulder," Rizzo said. "We didn't even make the playoffs last year. You have to go out and earn a chip. It is all on us to be the best team this year. We have talent, but being the best team will take us to new levels."

The Cubs are entering spring training after an offseason in which they were one of the least active teams in all of MLB. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. were the only two players whom the Cubs signed to big league contracts.

The lack of player turnover and movement was quite surprising to Rizzo, considering the front office strongly indicated that change was coming.

"I am very surprised about that," Rizzo said. "There was a lot of talk at the end of the year of changes and a lot of turnover. When you hear that, you don't know what is going to happen. I am happy with everyone we have and who is here. We are ready to get going."

The Cubs collapsed with a nine-game losing streak in September that extinguished their playoff hopes. It marked the first time since 2014 that the Cubs missed the playoffs, and it still stings Rizzo.

"It's very addicting to win," Rizzo said. "Not making the playoffs last year and being out of the playoffs really sucked. It was difficult to watch. It sucked. In the offseason when you do those extra reps, that is what you do it for. You do it for the boys and try to come together as a good team."

The Cubs' inactivity included their stance on Rizzo's future, as the team declined to discuss a contract extension with him. Rizzo's contract is set to expire after the 2021 season. 

With that in mind, Rizzo spoke in general about the state of relationship between players and owners across MLB. 

"More than ever, baseball players are being treated more like commodities," Rizzo said. "We want to win because that's we are bred to do -- be baseball players and win. On the other side of it, we want to make as much money as we can. We have a short time, so when you get contract offers when you are young and take them, the way the market is, you are just hurting the next player.

"We are making a lot of money. Some teams are going for it and are all in, some more like businesses. I get to do the fun part of this. My agent gets to do the not so fun part. Us players are very lucky and fortunate to make a lot of money doing what we love to do. When I see how much money the game is making, it's not far off for us players to speak up. There are billions and millions. There is a big difference between the B and the M."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.