Anthony Rizzo has already clubbed nine homers in his second season with the Cubs. (Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
The Chicago Cubs have made a long-term commitment to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, giving him a seven-year contract extension worth $41 million. The deal, as first reported by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, buys out Rizzo's four arbitration years and first year of free agency, and includes two club options for $14.5 million each.
For Rizzo, who is making $498,000 this year, the deal is a reward for a productive start to his Cubs career. The former top Red Sox prospect was sent to San Diego as part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade in 2010, then was acquired by the man who drafted him, Theo Epstein, and the Cubs in 2012 for a package centered on pitcher Andrew Cashner. Last season for Chicago, Rizzo hit 15 homers and posted a .342 on-base percentage and an .805 OPS in 87 games after being called up from Triple-A on June 26. Rizzo has improved on those numbers so far this season, with a slash line of .280/.352/.538 to go along with nine homers.
Rizzo's deal now gives the Cubs a second piece of their core that will be around for quite some time. Shortstop Starlin Castro is also signed through 2019 on a deal that kicked in this season. Rosenthal also reports that Chicago would like to extend top starter Jeff Samardzjia, and possibly Matt Garza, as well.