Opening Day 2021: Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo not expecting extension

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Maddie Lee
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Rizzo not expecting extension by Opening Day deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Anthony Rizzo doesn’t expect to reach an extension with the Cubs by his Opening Day deadline.

That’s what he said in a zoom press conference Monday, three days before the Cubs open the regular season.

“Obviously there’s been talks and whatnot,” Rizzo said, “but it doesn’t look like at this time anything’s going to be finalized. Looking forward to opening up Thursday and starting this journey with this team.”

The Cubs exercised Rizzo’s option for 2021, the last option on his contract. If the sides don’t agree to an extension, the first baseman becomes a free agent after this season.

On Monday, Rizzo stood firm in his stance on an Opening Day deadline for extension talks, after conversations with his family and representation.

“We feel really strong about it,” Rizzo said of the deadline. “And we've had enough time to talk and try to figure it out, but I think once the season starts for me personally, it's focused on baseball.”

This spring, Rizzo reiterated his love for Chicago and the Cubs. Asked if an end to negotiations still leaves open the option for Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer to approach Rizzo’s camp with a higher offer, Rizzo said, “Sure.”

He continued: “It'd be foolish (not to listen if) someone comes with a nice blank check and says, ‘What do you want?’ But from my mentality and my standpoint, I'm firm on just playing baseball and not worrying about any dollar figure, or any number of years, or whatever it is.”

He said he’s told his representation he doesn’t want to hear about any offer unless it’s extremely close to “what we think is right.”

Rizzo is just one of three Cubs core players who could hit free agency after this season, along with Javier Báez and Kris Bryant. As of Monday morning, the Cubs had not finalized extensions with any of the three.

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