Anthony Rizzo: MLB Business Is 'Cutthroat As Ever'

Rizzo can only shake his head at Kris Bryant being on the trade block.

Bruce Levine
January 16, 2020 - 5:29 pm

(670 The Score) Perhaps now more than ever, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and his teammates have been reminded that baseball is a business.

A team that has had a great five-year run together could see a core player in star third baseman Kris Bryant traded before spring training or the season starts. At best, Rizzo, Bryant and the Cubs are staring at their final chance to prove themselves together before major changes seem to be on the horizon after a disappointing 84-win season in 2019.

Rizzo understands all of that, and he indicated his good friend Bryant does as well.

"I have talked to him a couple of times in the offseason," Rizzo said. "He is excited that he and his wife Jess are having a baby. I think he is in a good place. He knows too that it's a rumor until a trade happens. He is the MVP of the league a couple of years ago. We know we want him on our side, that is for sure

"There are a lot of guys' names being floated around. We know nothing about it. As players, we can't control that. We need to focus on what we can control for the next nine months or at least until spring training,g because you never know what will happen. Now is the time to lock it in and just focus on baseball."

Related: Amid Cubs' uncertainty, David Ross is ready to win

Rizzo, 30, knows his long-term future with the Cubs is tenuous as well. He's under contract through 2021 and as much as he wants to remain a Cub forever, there are no extension talks currently going on with the team.

"I will keep that in house," Rizzo said when asked about his disappointment when the Cubs informed him they wouldn't be discussing an extension. "We had some talks and whatnot, and obviously nothing came to fruition. I have stated how much I love this place. It's like a home to me, my wife and family. This is a business, and it's as cutthroat as ever. They are talking about trading the MVP from just a few years ago who has done a lot for this franchise. This is a whole different ballgame we are working with now."

Does that mean Rizzo could end up playing for another team down the road?

"It would be naive for me to think that might not happen," Rizzo said.

Rizzo addressed whether there's still hope for an extension at some point.

"Obviously, that's not in their plans right now," Rizzo said. "That doesn't mean it won't happen. But for me, as a player only two years out after having a long-term deal, my focus just has to be on this team winning. I want to play for Rossy (new manager David Ross). I hope it's here. Like I said, it would be naive of me not to have those thoughts. When those thoughts do come in, you knock them out by doing an extra set in the weight room and an extra set of hitting to clear your head out."

Rizzo emphasized his relationship with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager remains strong despite no extension being reached.

"They have a business to run," Rizzo said. "It would be naive of us to think about it any other way. We are just another piece to the puzzle. If I am not playing first base, someone else will. Those guys are very straightforward with us. We can go out to play the fun side of the game. The agents get to deal with the darker side."

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