Joe Maddon wants to see Anthony Rizzo at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati next month.
Even if that means Rizzo has to play some shortstop.
Maddon made his case for the Cubs first baseman Sunday in Minnesota — "The guy's gotta be on the All-Star team. Let him play shortstop, I don't care." — and continued it before Monday's game against the Dodgers.
In fact, Maddon wouldn't even give a true endorsement to anybody else on the Cubs roster. Just Rizzo, whom Maddon said is having a "remarkable" start to the season.
"His year is definitely above and beyond," Maddon said. "I've not seen it, personally, the kind of year he's having right now. Among the group on the field, of course, (Kris Bryant) is going to get some noise at third base.
"Among the pitchers, we've had a lot of good performances. I thought Jason (Hammel) was in the running, but obviously the last couple outings probably may have knocked him out just a little bit.
"And the bullpen, I can't tell you for sure anybody definitely deserves to go there. So just being perfectly honest, Rizz is the one guy that should be there absolutely."
That's a stark change of pace considering Rick Renteria last year said all his players are All Stars and deserved to go.
Maddon wasn't bashing any of the other Cubs players or anything. He was simply being honest and realistic about the chances.
Rizzo is hitting .310 with a .419 on-base percentage and .587 slugging percentage, good for a 1.006 OPS. Even with a stacked NL first base deck that includes Los Angeles' Adrian Gonzalez (.888 OPS, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs) and Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt (.365 AVG, 1.129 OPS, 19 home runs, 57 RBIs), Rizzo has made a strong case for himself.
"Yeah, I want to go," Rizzo said. "Of course. But there's a lot of competition. So whoever's deserving usually doesn't get to go all the time. It is what it is."
Another NL All-Star voting update will come out Tuesday, but in the last official results, Rizzo was fourth, behind Goldschmidt, Gonzalez and Cardinals slugger Matt Adams, who is currently on the disabled list.
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Maddon admitted the All-Star voting method is "skewed," which is obvious at first glance at the AL voting update, which has a Kansas City Royal starting at just about every position.
Maddon feels the All-Star voting method will be addressed and changed at some point. But that won't be this season, and the Cubs still want to find a way to get Rizzo on the roster in Cincinnati next month.
"I want to believe that, regardless of what those votes say, he's going to be put on that team somehow, because he deserves to be there," Maddon said. "So we're all sifting through this methodology regarding voting for an All-Star team, which I totally understand and believe in the fan participation.
"But I've always believed that peer recognition is the best you can possibly receive in any occupation. ... I'm even excluding coaches and managers. Just the peer group — the players — I'd be really interested to see what they had to say about that in regards to sincerely voting who should be in the game or not."
[SHOP CUBS: Get an Anthony Rizzo jersey right here]
Maddon believes the All-Star voting process is "ripe" for discussing right now on ways to improve the method. And he feels Rizzo will end up representing the Cubs in the Midsummer Classic.
"Guys like him — he's got to be on the team," Maddon said. "I know these other guys are good — I've watched them, I've seen them — but he cannot not be chosen."