Cubs sign Anthony Rizzo to seven-year extension

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The Cubs have agreed to a seven-year, $41 million contract extension with first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The deal runs from 2013-19, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rizzo, 23 years old, has been his club’s most reliable hitter, entering this afternoon’s game against the Nationals with a .288/.361/.554 line, including nine home runs.

Rizzo was a sixth-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2007 draft. He went to the Padres in the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. The Padres sent him to the Cubs to acquire Andrew Cashner.

Rosenthal provides more details on the contract:

The deal also includes two club options and escalators that could extend the deal to 2021 and bring the total value of the package to $73 million, sources said.

Rizzo, who has just over a year of major-league service, is earning $498,000 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 deal provides the Cubs cost certainty with an up-and-coming first baseman. Rizzo would not have been arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season and he would not have been eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season, as Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors notes.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

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The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.