The Chicago Cubs are prioritizing last-minute extensions for Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, but what would those look like at this point?
Both Rizzo and Baez turned down extensions before the start of the regular season, assuming their value would only go up over the course of a full, 162-game season. Whether that has actually transpired depends upon who you ask.
Baez turned down a deal in the range of $180 million (length unspecified), betting on himself to have a big year heading into an offseason defined by major shortstops hitting free agency. Instead, Baez is hitting just .238 despite solid power with 21 home runs. His on-base percentage remains an albatross and he strikes out far too much.
Rizzo, meanwhile, turned down a five-year deal worth $70 million. Hitting .249 with low-end power on the season, it’s easy to see him in a similar position to Baez, hurting his long-term value.
Chicago Cubs: What would Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo contract extensions look like?
Baez was shooting for the moon before the season, seeing the likes of Francisco Lindor and Fernando Tatis, Jr. land contracts in the $300 million range. Baez is not that kind of player, as entertaining as he may be. A realistic expectation would be somewhere in the high-end $150 million to $175 million range depending on the length of the deal.
If Rizzo doesn’t pick up his production he could be looking at that $70 million-$100 million range as a best-case scenario. At 31 years old, odds are he won’t be looking at a long-term extension with any team beyond the North Side of Chicago. This likely explains the Cubs willingness to talk extension now, hoping to buy low in the process.
The Cubs hoping to extend Baez and Rizzo now is strategy. Neither is playing at his peak, meaning it makes sense to buy low. Trading the likes of Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel helps in getting money off the books, and cutting loose several players who don’t fit into their future.