SAN DIEGO — Anthony Rizzo's agent sent a shockwave through the Cubs world Wednesday morning at the Winter Meetings when he said the organization isn't working on an extension for the star first baseman.
In speaking with ESPN's Jesse Rogers, agent Marc Pollack said: "The Cubs have informed us that they will not be offering Anthony an extension at this time. Anthony has let his desire to be a Cub for life known to the organization. Although we do not know what the future holds, a deal to make that happen will not be addressed now."
Rizzo, 30, is under team control for the next two seasons — he's due $16.5 million in 2020 and has an identical club option for 2021.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer responded to Pollack's statement in a segment with David Kaplan for Wednesday's Sports Talk Live:
"We've always kept those conversations in-house," Hoyer said. "We've had conversations with lots of our guys over a five-year period and it’s always best to keep it quiet. I think in this case, Rizzo's agent decided to talk about it. We did have some conceptual talks about what an extension would look like and I think that, candidly, we were pretty far apart in terms of length and so he decided to come out and say that.
"But we love Rizz. I hope he's a Cub forever. There's nothing that's been done that's going to stop future conversations, but we did have some conceptual conversations that obviously wasn't a match at this time. But this is a moment in time. It doesn't mean there's not going to be a match at some point in the future."
Hoyer reiterated Tuesday night what both he and Theo Epstein have been saying all winter — the Cubs have approached several players about extensions and have not yet reached an agreement with Rizzo, Javy Baez, Kris Bryant or anyone else.
Rizzo has won the Gold Glove three of the last four seasons and just wrapped up one of the best years of his career with a .293 batting average, .405 on-base percentage and .924 OPS to go along with 27 homers and 94 RBI.
He is one of the faces of the franchise, but he's also dealt with back injuries the last couple years and is still two years away from free agency. There's plenty of time for the Cubs to work out a possible extension with Rizzo, but it doesn't appear that will happen this winter.
Wednesday evening, Epstein called the distance between the Cubs and Rizzo's camp on length is just part of the standard process for extension talks.
"The way I look at him is that he's a special player and he's done so much for the organization and the city that we value him very, very highly and we think highly of him as a person," Epstein said. "He's closely associated with our organization, our brand and everything that we're trying to do. He's not a free agent. He's not at risk of going anywhere right now.
"I know the story raised some alarms, but he's under control here for two more years, which we're thrilled about and there will be lots of opportunities for continuing the relationship. Again, more generally, when there's common ground on length, there can be deeper conversations. That's usually more typical when you get closer to free agency."
When Kaplan asked Hoyer if the Cubs are going to be able to lock down an extension for one of the core players before spring training, the GM responded:
“You know that’d be great," Hoyer said. "Like I said, we’ve had a lot of these conversations over the years. We know these agents so well based on these conversations; we can pick them up really easily. And we have a lot of good players and we’ve approached all these guys at some different point about extensions. And I understand — it takes both sides being happy to get something done. You don’t expect every time you go into a negotiation to get it done. You know sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t.
"But I can tell you it’s not for lack of trying. We have had tons of conversations and we’ll continue to. It would be great to keep some of these players in a Cubs uniform for a lot longer.”
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