(670 The Score) One constant for the Cubs for nearly a decade has been the presence of first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the lineup on a daily basis.
Rizzo averaged 153 games played from 2013-’19, when he first entered the big leagues to the last full regular season that was conducted. He then played in all but two of the Cubs’ games in 2020. Rizzo has produced at a high level, as he’s a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner.
Rizzo is in the final year of his contract, and his future will likely be a storyline all season long. While Rizzo and the Cubs haven’t been on the same page about an extension previously, he plans to sit down with president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer this spring.
"Seeing Jed's comments about talking this spring and sitting down with him has been nice," Rizzo said. "Obviously, this city and the love I have for it, I have always worn on my sleeve. I still love our team, and I still love what we have going on here. Keeping everything here inside this building would be the smartest approach for everyone.”
“As far as a timeline, we really have not talked much about that. I am sure if and when things come to fruition, you (the media) will be the first to know.”
Rizzo was asked if the dynamic in contract talks will change at all with Hoyer in charge after former top baseball executive Theo Epstein resigned last fall.
"I don't think it will,” Rizzo said. “Going back to 2013 (when he signed his current long-term contract), it was a pretty easy process. There is so much history we have and camaraderie that one way or another, it will be a process and we will go through. It is an exciting time, and I am healthy and ready to play baseball and have a full spring training and get ready for 162.”
Rizzo, 31, has personified the Cubs in a way that has made the franchise and fans proud. He has performed at a high level, been a fun-loving teammate and has been a positive influence and done great work in the community through his foundation. He hopes that will continue in the years to come, but if this is his last ride, he’s going to enjoy it.
"Legacy wise, I still want to go out and play and have that big smile on my face,” Rizzo said. “You just go out and do you best and enjoy it. That way you will not have regrets.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.