Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY)

1B Rizzo hopes to get long-term deal, remain with Cubs

- By ANDREW SELIGMAN AP Sports Writer

For the all of the uncertaint­y surroundin­g the future of the Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo is sure of one thing.

The star slugger wants to stay put.

Rizzo said Monday he is hopeful about signing a longterm deal with the club before his contract expires at the end of the season.

“This city and everything I love about the city, I kind of wear on my sleeve,” he said. “And I still love it. I still love our team. I still love what we have going on here.”

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said last week he would discuss longterm contracts with Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez during spring training. All three players have expiring deals and are coming off difficult seasons. They also played huge roles in Chicago’s transforma­tion from long-suffering, lovable losers to drought-busting champions.

“If these guys go out and do what they are accustomed to doing, I think those things do take care of themselves,” manager David Ross said. “You can’t worry about what’s going to happen next offseason. We’re wasting our time if we’re that far ahead. We need to focus on the daily process to get better.”

Speaking from the Cubs’ spring facility in Mesa, Arizona, Rizzo said preseason camp is the “perfect time” to discuss a new contract, but he didn’t rule out continuing talks once the season begins if an agreement isn’t reached.

Rizzo, Bryant and Báez helped the Cubs win the World Series in 2016, ending a drought dating to 1908. Chicago finished first in the NL Central last season and made the playoffs for the fifth time in six years but scored just one run in a two-game sweep by Miami in a first-round series.

The Cubs haven’t advanced in the playoffs since 2017, and they started a makeover in the offseason.

Hoyer was promoted from general manager when his longtime friend and boss Theo Epstein stepped down. Ace right-hander Yu Darvish was traded to San Diego. Slugger Kyle Schwarber wasn’t tendered a contract and signed as a free agent with Washington, where he’ll be joined by left-hander Jon Lester.

 ?? JAE C. HONG - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo fields the ball during the team’s spring training baseball workout in Mesa, Ariz., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.
JAE C. HONG - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo fields the ball during the team’s spring training baseball workout in Mesa, Ariz., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.

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