Anthony Rizzo gave a passionate press conference last night where he said some shit that got a lot of Cubs' fans nervous. Specifically, he said that this could be "our last year together" when talking about the team, generally. Yet despite being extremely vague, a lot of people are freaking out that the team is going to break up this year. Or that Rizzo knows something we don't about Theo's motives next offseason. Or that Kris Bryant is getting traded this September for a closer because HE SUCKS AT LEADOFF CARL. I've heard a lot of things since Rizzo made these remarks and very little makes sense.
Here's the commentary in full:
"Could be our last year"
"Who knows what's going to happen"
"Could be my last year"
Not exactly the strongest language in the English language from our fearless leader, but don't let that stop every meatball north of Madison firing up some extremely bad takes on the situation. People that want to live in misery despite a 13-3 record and inarguable hottest start to the fucked up 2020 season. Those are the people that see Rizzo say shit like this and are like GOOD THING WE TRADED FOR AROLDIS CHAPMAN THE SAME YEAR WE WERE GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN IT ALL!!!
Fuck those people.
Two important things: Rizzo has a club option for $16.5M in 2021 meaning that it technically could be "our" last year together. Technically... although you're a MORON to think that doesn't get picked up.
From a narrow view, he could legitimately just be talking about himself and tangentially-venting about the club's unwillingness to talk contract extension. He laments this by saying "Could be my last year, who knows." So easiest and least stressful way to digest this is just assume Rizzo's talking about himself.
Next, even if he's not talking about himself, the only other guy on the roster from the 2015/16 core that might not be around next year is Lester. The rest of the guys from that time (Baez, Schwarber, Bryant, Contreras, Hendricks, Heyward, Almora) are controlled by the club through 2021. So when you think "core guys" and their contracts and all that shit, there's really only 2 out of 9 players that apply to Rizzo's comments. One is Anthony Rizzo and the next is Jon Lester.
Reminder: Lester has a $25M Club Option for next year that could vest under 2 conditions: 400 total innings in 2019-2020, or just 200 total innings in 2020. Obviously those goals won't happen under this season's circumstances, so it will truly be a Club Option with a $10M buyout. So the decision can be compartmentalized to $25M for Lester, or spend $10M to get rid of Lester so you can then spend up to $15M somewhere else. Or save the money. Fortunately that decision-tree is outside the scope of this blog right now.
I went deep this week on Red Line Radio about all the things that impact picking up Lester's massive 2021 salary. Ultimately I think they do because you can't just send Jon Lester home after what he's done in the uniform. Even if it's a bad business decision then it's a good business decision because sports fans in general are so sensitive. Mix in the fact we're talking about Cubs' fans and it's obvious this would go down horribly if they didn't pick him up. Provided he doesn't physically and actually fall apart, I'd be stunned if Lester isn't back next year.
As for Rizzo, he's obviously going to be back next year at the $16.5M option. Lingering behind that is that Rizzo should spend his entire career as a Cub. He's clearly the face of the World Series club and the leader and all this shit. Like you don't need a PhD to figure out the internal dynamics of the Cubs' clubhouse. But same time he's still walking around with about 14 months of contracted-work left in Chicago and that just doesn't feel right. It would be much easier to give him the Wakefield treatment that he's on the team until he doesn't want to be on the team anymore. That's how you treat a guy like Anthony Rizzo.
Unfortunately the Cubs don't work like that. They're going to draw it out, pick up the club option and then HOPEFULLY for the love of dear god, agree to some kind of extension before the 2021 season because I just can't go all year talking about this shit. Take care of your guys. Take care of your guys. Take care of your guys.
End of the day, this core should be back in 2021. If I'm wrong then so be it but my brain says those 9 guys will get a full 162 to go out the right way. The way they deserve. Hopefully on top.