The Chicago Cubs, from the moment they acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo 16 months ago, viewed him as a significant part of their future.
Now, they can guarantee it long-term.
The Cubs have reached agreement with Rizzo on a seven-year, $41 million contract through 2019, according to major league sources. The deal, officially announced by the team Monday, also includes two $14.5 million club options, sources said.
Thus, the total value over nine years could be $68 million; Rizzo would not receive a $2 million buyout if both options are exercised. Escalators could further increase the size of the package to $73 million, sources said.
Rizzo, who has just more than a year of major league service, is earning $498,000 this season. His new deal will include an immediate increase for 2013 while covering all four of his arbitration years — Rizzo was on track for Super Two status — and his first free-agent year.
The contract is in excess of the one that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt recently received from the Diamondbacks — a five-year, $32 million extension from 2014 to ’18, with a $14.5 million club option for ’19 that could bring the total package to six years, $46.5 million. Goldschmidt, however, was eligible for three years of arbitration, not four.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, another of the team’s cornerstones, also is signed through 2019. The club also would like to sign right-hander Jeff Samardzija and possibly righty Matt Garza to extensions as well.
Rizzo, who turns 24 on Aug. 8, is batting .280 with an .891 OPS this season, nine home runs and 28 RBI. The Cubs acquired him from the Padres for right-hander Andrew Cashner in a four-player deal on Jan. 6, 2012.