If this is his final season with Chicago Cubs, Rizzo 'at peace with it'
"They have a business to run and we're a part of their business. We're players. We know this game doesn't know any names. You're just another piece of the puzzle and if I'm not playing first base, someone else is. That's the way it is."
That was Anthony Rizzo -- before the 2020 season.
The veteran leader was talking about a failure to get a contract extension from the Cubs, and he didn't hold back when discussing his status.
On Monday, Rizzo spoke with the media on a Zoom call from training camp in Mesa, Arizona, and he sounded much the same.
"Obviously, it didn't work out thus far," Rizzo said. "And that's OK, I'm at peace with it ... Like I've said before, I love Chicago. I love the fans. I love Wrigley Field and what being a Chicago Cub is all about.
"My desire to stay here has been worn right on my sleeve."
After having his final club option ($16.5 million) picked up in late October, Rizzo is eligible for free agency at season's end.
There was some hope the 31-year-old first baseman would get a suitable contract extension offer from the Cubs during spring training, but it looks like the two sides remain far apart.
"Obviously there's been talks and whatnot, but it doesn't look like at this time anything's going to be finalized," Rizzo said. "It's been an amazing ride. I don't think it's over, yet."
While there might be a chance, undoubtedly slim, the Cubs make the three-time all-star an acceptable offer during the upcoming season, Rizzo wants to keep his focus on baseball once play begins for real Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.
"We've given a lot during this process here," Rizzo said. "With the Opening Day deadline, we feel real strong about it. We've had enough time to talk and try to figure it out. I think once the season starts for me personally, it's focused on baseball. I've told my agents not to talk to me about it anymore."
Entering his 10th season with the Cubs, Rizzo already has established himself as one of the most productive and popular players in franchise history. But, like he has said, baseball can be a cold business.
"The only thing that really pops in my mind is, one of my biggest mentors and one of my best friends is Jon Lester, who's had legacies at two different historic franchises (Red Sox, Cubs)," Rizzo said. "When you think of the actual business side of it, you can't just be naive to think that just because of what I've done here and what I express, they're just going to hand me a contract, right?
"I've got to go out and earn it and I look forward to just continuing to play and be me."