Thursday, March 1, 2012

Extension Invention: Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo only has 68 days spent in the major leagues and has one home run and a .141/.281/.242 line to show for it. It wasn't great, but it was enough to convince the Cubs to acquire and name him the heir apparent at first base. (Maybe the 26 homers and .331/.404/.652 line in AAA as a 21-year-old helped convince them, too.) While the Cubs are far from being the penny-pinching type of club the Tampa Bay Rays are, is it a good time for them to follow the Rays' footsteps and sign Rizzo to a Evan Longoria-type contract? (In case you've forgot, Longoria signed his 6-year deal after his first month or so in the majors.)
What could such an extension for Rizzo look like? Below is my best guess. Beginning with the end of 2012, he would receive a 225% raise, 200% raise, 175% raise, 150% raise, and then a 125% raise his fourth and final year of arbitration (figuring he'll reach Super Two status). For his first year of free agency he'd receive a 175% raise and then he'd hold an option on the year after that. A player option (for about the same salary) in this case made most sense to me because Rizzo, while receiving upfront security, would be potentially sacrificing big dollars during arbitration. The player option would be the trade-off for this, giving him the chance to decide when he would enter free agency. While it's too early to see how much faith the Cubs actually have in Rizzo, I believe they see him as the real deal and should lock him up if that's the case. With this 7 year, $35 m extension, they could be saving big dollars down the road while not committing to a contract that would severely cripple them if everything went wrong.

Anthony Rizzo
Amount ($ in millions)
2012 (Pre-Arb 1)
2013 (Pre-Arb 2)
2014 (Super 2)
2015 (Arb 2)
2016 (Arb 3)
2017 (Arb 4)
2018 (FA 1)
2019 (FA 2) pl. opt.
13.5 (ex.) or .5 (decl.)
8 yrs for $48m (ex.) — $6m AAV
7 yrs for $35m (decl.) — $5m AAV

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