Cubs getting money’s worth from Rizzo
By Gordon Wittenmyer firstname.lastname@example.org June 26, 2013 10:51PM
The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN,
The starters: Matt Garza (2-1, 4.25) vs. Wily Peralta (5-8, 5.59).
Updated: July 30, 2013 7:50AM
MILWAUKEE — Think the Cubs would take this annual line from Anthony Rizzo for the $41 million they committed for seven years?
A .270 average, 27 home runs, 92 RBI, a .341 on-base percentage and an .813 OPS.
That’s the 161-game performance for one calendar year as a Cub for Rizzo, who on Wednesday celebrated the anniversary of his long-hyped Cubs debut.
And that was before he had two more hits, three more bases and a walk in Wednesday’s 5-4 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Rizzo, 23, said of his first year. “Even taking it back 24 months to San Diego and getting traded [for Andrew Cashner], coming up last year and having a lot of success and then coming in this year and the Cubs committing [the seven-year extension] to me … I’m very grateful and humbled by it.”
One of the more impressive things about Rizzo’s one-year line is that it includes a pair of extended slumps this season, suggesting a lot of room for growth in those figures for a kid still more than three months from completing his first full season in the majors.
“He’s one of those guys who’s kind of all into his defense and his work ethic and trying to make himself a better player every day,” manager Dale Sveum said. “The rest falls into place when you have that kind of mentality because the hands are there, the ability to hit’s there. We’ve seen it. He’s already produced at the big-league level, with the power numbers and all that.
“They usually only get better if you have that kind of work ethic and mind-set.”
What, Cubs worry?
Cubs officials won’t make any public comments on the talks but don’t seem particularly worried over the no-news report that agent Scott Boras wants more than the $6.7 million “slot” MLB assigned to the No. 2 overall pick to get his guy, Kris Bryant, signed — and that the sides are “nowhere close.”
Because the most important thing that’s “nowhere close” is the July 12 deadline for getting a deal done, a date the Cubs anticipated all along would be the day it happens.
The fact is the Cubs could give Bryant a “below-slot” bonus and still give him the top deal in this year’s draft because No. 1 pick Mark Appel — also a Boras client — got a below-slot $6.35 million deal from Houston.
Bryant could refuse to sign and return for his senior year at San Diego — as Appel did at Stanford — but it’s hard to imagine he’d improve his draft stock with the extra year.
Scouting insiders say there already are two or three position players eligible for next year’s draft that project well enough to challenge Bryant as the top non-pitcher a year from now.
If he did that, the Cubs would get next year’s No. 3 overall pick in addition to what could be another top-five pick on 2013 “merit.”
Sveum said newly called up Brian Bogusevic — who got his first start as a Cub on Wednesday — will be the regular left fielder during the interleague games in Seattle and Oakland the next week. Alfonso Soriano will get most of the DH time.
◆ Outfield prospect Jorge Soler traveled to Chicago this week to have a slow-healing shin looked at by team doctors. He fouled a ball off his leg.