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The Anthony Rizzo extension should have been a slam dunk

The Anthony Rizzo extension should have been a slam dunk

It all made too much sense. Except now it doesn't.

Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk

Good morning, frents!

A report says Stan Bowman is expected to be the GM of the U.S. Olympic hockey team for 2022. And here you thought Stan wouldn't be able to find another way to reunite with Brandon Saad.

Monday's results
Warriors 116, Bulls 102
Cubs 7, D'Backs 1

Today's schedule
Hurricanes at Hawks (6:30, NBCSCH)
Sox at Rockies (2, No TV)
Cubs off

This shouldn't be that hard

Why is this so difficult?

I don't need to run down Anthony Rizzo's resume here, other than to say that both you and I know he's destined to go down as one of the most accomplished athletes in Chicago history.

Both on the field and off.

Yet here we are, two days before the start of Rizzo's age 31 season, wondering if it'll be his last in a Cubs uniform.

"I've told my agents not to talk to me about it anymore," Rizzo said, shutting down his part in an extension until after the season.

This might not be a big deal if the situation was different.

If Rizzo was in line for Albert Pujols after 2011 money.

Or if his name were Javy Baez or Kris Bryant, two younger teammates who could sign bigger deals elsewhere after this season.

Rizzo, though, seemed like a slam dunk to sign a fair deal and finish out his useful days at Wrigley Field before taking his place in the highest echelon of Cubs alumni.

But now? It's hard to say.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Cubs offer is at five years for $70 million while Michael Cerami of Bleacher Nation has a source who puts the first offer at just $60 million over five.

That's far from chump change, but it's not close to the five-year, $130 million extension that Paul Goldschmidt signed with the Cardinals in 2019.

Nor does it match the total ($90 million over six years) the Yankees gave DJ LeMahieu this winter in a market melted by the pandemic.

Whatever rationale anyone might have for defending those reported offers to Rizzo, it's hard to fully mount a case toward low-balling a player who is the heart of both your franchise and the children's hospital downtown.

There isn't a salary cap in baseball, nor is Rizzo seeking an amount that would turn anyone's head anymore. If you can't stomach the possibility of a slight overpay for everything Rizzo brings to the table, what is even going on here?

I still think that both sides eventually work things out, a fact that Rizzo seemed to acknowledge on Monday.

But it isn't going to come without a game of hardball we thought we'd be spared. But that was obviously a mistaken thought. Nothing with the Cubs has come easy the past year or so.

“It’s been an amazing ride and I don’t think it’s over yet,” Rizzo said on Monday. “But it’s just part of the business. This is business and you need to separate it because every good business person will tell you there’s no friendships really in business."

Previewing the AL and NL Central divisions

Opening Day is just two days away and you have a good idea of what the Sox and Cubs are going to look like. But what about their closest rivals?

David Brown took a long look around the Midwest for you with not one, but two comprehensive previews. These are the goods.

Results

Final: Warriors 116, Bulls 102

  • Maybe the third time will be a charm? The new-look Bulls came up short in their second game with Nikola Vucevic as Steph Curry returned after a five-game absence and dropped 32 points on six three-pointers in 30 minutes.
  • Vucevic posted a 21-9-6 line in 27 minutes, but it's probably time for the Bulls to get Zach LaVine a few nights off. Playing with an injured ankle, LaVine shot just 4-of-16 for 12 points.
  • The Bulls have lost four straight and six of seven.
  • Next: The Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Final: Cubs 7, D-backs 1

  • The Cubs closed Cactus League play Monday with a 15-9 record, getting 3 1/3 solid innings by right-hander Zach Davies, three hits from Willson Contreras and three RBIs by everyone's favorite demotion, Nico Hoerner.
  • Soon to be the toast of Des Moines, Hoerner slashed .364/.396/.659 with seven extra-base hits, 11 RBIs and 29 total bases in 17 games.
  • Craig Kimbrel finished with another goose egg in the runs column, allowing a hit and a walk to go with two strikeouts in his final spring tune-up. After struggling at the start of camp, Kimbrel made a mechanical adjustment in his delivery and finished with four scoreless appearances.
  • Joc Pederson hit a two-run double and finished the Cactus League with a 1.431 OPS.
  • Next: Opening Day against the Pirates at Wrigley Field, for real, with the first pitch by Kyle Hendricks scheduled for 1:20 p.m. Thursday. The weather forecast calls for partly sunny skies with a high temperature of 38 degrees (yikes).

— David Brown

  1. Bama QB Mac Jones, who probably won't be on the board at No. 20, chopped it up with the Bears a bit on Monday. BearsWire
  2. Super cool story on the artist who designed all those vintage Bears programs in the '40s and '50s. Windy City Gridiron
  3. How a Reddit user playing video games scooped everyone on Rashaad Coward signing with the Steelers. NBC Sports Chicago
  4. Annie Costabile previews the NWSL Challenge Cup for the Red Stars, who will be down three of their biggest players to start the season. Sun-Times
  5. Inside Wicker Park's new mini golf bar. Eater Chicago

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