Why Jed Hoyer remains ‘very optimistic’ in extension negotiations with Anthony Rizzo
Time is running out for the Cubs to reach a contract extension with Anthony Rizzo before the Opening Day deadline, but Jed Hoyer remains “very optimistic” a deal will eventually come to fruition.
The Cubs president of baseball operations spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon, two days after Rizzo said he was “at peace” with where the negotiations sat.
Rizzo said early in spring training that he would like to have the discussions done by Opening Day so he could focus solely on baseball.
Hoyer understands that position, but he also pointed out the two sides still have another seven months to work out a deal.
“Obviously I know more about the negotiation than what’s out there,” Hoyer said. “Whenever one data point comes out, there’s a danger in that. So I’m confident that he wants to be back here in Chicago. I know that we want him back here. I believe something will work out.
“Ultimately, the timing to me doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re able to reach an agreement. There’s a lot made of the timing and ultimately, we have him for 162 more games and 700 plate appearances. There’s a lot of time between now and free agency.
“I respect his desire to put a deadline on it. That’s his decision and one that I respect completely, but our door is open. We have no reason not to talk in season. I’ll honor that, but I am optimistic that we will end up reaching an agreement.”
Hoyer was part of the Boston Red Sox front office that drafted Rizzo in the 6th round in 2007 and traded for the star first baseman two separate times — once in San Diego and then again when he joined forces with Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod in the Cubs front office.
Rizzo transformed into a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate in Chicago while winning four Gold Gloves. He has been the face of the franchise, riding out the last-place finishes before becoming an integral part of the lineup that won the 2016 World Series and shattered a 108-year-old drought.
“I don’t think there’s any bigger Anthony Rizzo supporter out there than I am,” Hoyer said. “Obviously I want him playing first base for the Cubs for a long time in 2022 and beyond and I’ve made that really clear to him throughout the process.
“…I’ve also articulated the Cubs’ position to him very clearly and I think he knows where we stand. The most important thing is he knows we want him back and I certainly hope that we’re able to work something out.”
Hoyer also said he and the Cubs front office had discussions with agents for both Javy Báez and Kris Bryant in spring training about possible extensions but preferred to keep those talks private.