Cubs ink Rizzo to seven-year deal

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs and Anthony Rizzo officially came to terms on a seven-year deal worth an estimated $41 million that includes club options for the 2020 and 2021 season and could total $73 million before it’s through. The contract covers the first baseman’s final two pre-arbitration seasons, his four arbitration-eligible years and at least his first season of free agency, with options to buy out years two and three.

The 23-year-old—who will be 30 when the original contract expires—has played just 124 games for the Cubs, accumulating a .283/.345/.485 (AVG/OBP/SLG) line with 24 homers, 25 doubles and 76 RBI. His home runs, hits (136) and OPS (.830) all rank second among NL first basemen since his call-up on June 26, 2012. His .995 fielding percentage is also second among first basemen.

Rizzo was originally selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2007 draft out of high school. He was limited to 21 minor league games in 2008 after being diagnosed with Limited Stage Classical Hodgkins Lymphoma in late April, but he returned a season later to lead all Red Sox minor leaguers with a .368 on-base percentage.

In December, 2010 he was traded to the Padres, along with four other players, for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He tore up the Triple-A ranks and was the No. 1 prospect in the Padres farm system when he was acquired by the Cubs on January 6, 2012 as part of a four-player trade that included RHP Andrew Cashner.

Through 37 games this season, Rizzo is hitting .280/.352/.538 with nine homers and 28 driven in. Though he struggled early, his average has climbed quickly, as he was hitting just .173 on April 25.

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