Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have picked up their 2020 club option for first baseman Anthony Rizzo at $16.5 million. The Cubs also hold a club option for the 2021 season at $16.5 million.
Rizzo, 30, had another terrific season for the Cubs in 2019, batting .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored across 613 plate appearances. Towards the end of the season, as the Cubs went on a losing streak that pushed them out of playoff contention, Rizzo dealt with a sprained ankle. He has otherwise been quite durable in his eight seasons with the Cubs.
Rizzo will reprise his role at first base, but the Cubs are going through some changes. The club hired David Ross to replace Joe Maddon as manager. Elsewhere, Cole Hamels, Ben Zobrist, Nick Castellanos, Derek Holland, and Jonathan Lucroy have become free agents, so there will be a bit of roster turnover.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).