The Case for the Cubs to Trade Anthony Rizzo as Soon as Possible

If they're smart, the Chicago Cubs should trade Anthony Rizzo as soon as possible.
If they're smart, the Chicago Cubs should trade Anthony Rizzo as soon as possible. / Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs aren't in the most comfortable of positions right now. They're in the crossroads of deciding whether or not to begin a rebuild or keep contending. They missed the playoffs entirely for the first time since 2014 and have changed managers, but they've still retained the same core from their 2016 World Series championship season. The biggest question is what they should do with that core.

While plenty have endorsed that Chicago should deal the limited Kyle Schwarber, or at least entertain the idea of receiving a massive haul in exchange for Kris Bryant, we have an alternate theory: they should trade first baseman Anthony Rizzo as soon as they can.

Rumors had been circulating all offseason about the Cubs attempting to trade Bryant, especially after garnering an extra year of service time on his deal. . If they opted to trade Rizzo instead, it would free up the $16.5 million Rizzo was set to make in 2020 and eliminate the $16.5 million option they have for him for the 2021 season. They could instead put that cash towards signing the more versatile Bryant to a big deal.

If the Cubs are missing a first baseman that badly after the trade, there's an abundance of them set for the 2020 free agent market. Just look at CJ Cron, Yuli Gurriel, Justin Smoak, and Jake Lamb, all of whom could be cheap, short-term solutions. And after 2021, Nolan Arenado can theoretically opt out of his Rockies deal -- Bryant, now locked down, could easily be shifted to the lower-pressure spot at first to make room for him.

Rizzo has expressed interest in being a Cub for life and wanting a big extension, but, obviously, if a trade goes down, they can allocate that money elsewhere (like to Bryant). They wouldn't want to give their icon a massive, crippling contract extension either, as he's about to turn 30.

The position the Cubs have to take with Rizzo is an unenviable one. It's a difficult decision to make, but the right decision would be to trade him sooner rather than later, especially if a Bryant deal really is on the table.