Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo suggests frustration with front office

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs’ front office has been determined to not spend any money this offseason and other players are starting to voice their frustrations.

Chicago Cubs‘ Chairman Tom Ricketts has made it clear that the team is trying to avoid exceeding the league’s competitive balance tax in consecutive seasons. As such, the offseason has been comprised of minor league deal after minor league deal, all while trade rumors swirl regarding teams that would be good trade partners for the services of Kris Bryant, among others. The Cubs have found themselves in a difficult situation after handcuffing themselves to large contracts in Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward, and Tyler Chatwood.

Nearly $80 million tied to just four players but granted; the team likely doesn’t win the 2016 World Series without Lester. Still, it’s difficult to watch teams like the Chicago White Sox who are locking up their young talent to team-friendly deals even before they make their major league debuts. And yes, there is some level of risk involved in doing that, but it makes you question why the Cubs didn’t attempt something similar. Now, they are forced to pick and choose specific players that they would like to keep long-term, and while it seems likely that Javier Baez will have an extension before the season starts, Anthony Rizzo appears to be frustrated with the Cubs’ front office.

ESPN Cubs Insider, Jesse Rogers, spoke with Rizzo regarding his long-term future, and the Cubs’ captain indicated that “he’ll keep his reaction to not getting an extension in-house.” Rizzo has been with the team since being acquired in January 2012 and was a critical piece in helping the Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years. He’s the unspoken leader of the clubhouse and entered this offseason with two club options left on his team-friendly 7-year, $41 million deal he signed in May 2013.

Rizzo turned 30-years-old this past August, and history would indicate he’s reached the age when players start to experience a dip in their performance. Theo Epstein had stated in his year-end press conference that he was going to chat with several of the Cubs’ young core about potential extensions, and it seems they have only made headway with Baez.

I can undoubtedly understand Rizzo’s frustration with the front office. He’s technically at an age where high-profile contracts are less common, but he’s been the definition of consistency ever since he arrived in Chicago. Fangraphs projects Rizzo to finish the 2020 season with a .284/.388/.522 slash line with 32 home runs and an even 100 RBI (135 wRC+), which would fall in line with his expected production.

Rookie manager, David Ross, stated that he expects Bryant to be on the team when Opening Day comes around, but his grievance filing could potentially make him a free agent after this season. Speaking of, substantial payroll is set to come off the books after the 2020 season, and Ricketts will no longer be able to cry poor.

Next. Cubs need to insert themselves in Arenado/Cardinals trade talk. dark

I hope that some level of conversation has been had with Rizzo that a well-deserved extension is coming his way after the 2020 season when the team has more financial flexibility, but I honestly don’t know. This offseason has been one disaster after another, and my biggest fear is it will carry over onto the field come March 26 when the Cubs open their 2020 campaign in Milwaukee.