Extension Talks Non-Existent Between Cubs, Rizzo

The sides weren't at all on the same page in previous preliminary discussions.

Bruce Levine
December 11, 2019 - 10:52 pm

SAN DIEGO (670 The Score) -- The Cubs front office and star first baseman Anthony Rizzo's representation have put contract extension talks for Rizzo on hold for the present time.

The Cubs aren't currently working on extending Rizzo, agent Marc Pollack told ESPN on Wednesday in an update that president of baseball operations Theo Epstein later confirmed. Rizzo, 30, has two years left on his contract with the Cubs, who acquired him in a trade in 2012 and have watched him blossom into a three-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and the heartbeat of their team.

The Cubs have been looking to extend some of their core players this offseason. They broached the subject with Rizzo's representation at the GM Meetings back in November, but Epstein on Wednesday indicated the sides aren't close to being on the same page at this time.

"We talk to our players and representatives at times about these things," Epstein said. "Usually when there is common ground on length or chance on common ground on length, then it can move forward, get more specific and sometimes there is an offer. The fact that in a given situation (if) there wasn't an offer made, there were not deeper conversations. That means there was no common ground on length. This is not uncommon when a player is more than a year away from free agency." 

Rizzo signed a seven-year, $41-million contract with the Cubs in 2013 that will turn into a nine-year deal worth nearly $75 million by the time the two club options are exercised on the end of it. It has by all accounts been a bargain deal for the Cubs given Rizzo's consistent high-level production. He had four straight seasons with at least 25 homers and 100 RBIs from 2015-'18, then added 27 homers and 94 RBIs in 2019.

Epstein emphasized that extension talks with Rizzo being on hold doesn't take away from how the Cubs view him as an iconic player, nor does it mean they don't want him past 2021.

"The way I look at him is he is a special player," Epstein said. "He has done so much for the organization and the city. We value him very, very highly. We think highly of him as a person, and he is closely associated with our team and our brand. He is not a free agent. He isn't going anywhere right now. He is under control for two more years, and we are thrilled about it. There will be lots of opportunities to talk about continuing the relationship. There can be more conversations on the length, and that is more typical when you get closer to free agency."

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