Anthony Rizzo on his way to Chicago

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer pulled a little misdirection on Cubs fans today, starting Anthony Rizzo in Iowa, but then pulling him after 2 ABs.  The Iowa Cubs then announced that Anthony Rizzo is going to Chicago.

Rizzo was in the middle of his 162nd game, coincidentally a full season, before getting the call.  In 69 games this year, he put up a .345/.408/.702 line.

As I mentioned in an article yesterday, I don't expect him to hit .345 with the Cubs.  I don't even really expect him to hit .300.  What I can see is a guy who will hit .270, give you good ABs, supply some good power and defense.  He's not a savior, but he'll give the Cubs a fresh face they can root for this season.

Contributor Ron writes to tell me...

Sitting at the I-Cubs game here in Des Moines. They pulled Rizzo after the 3rd and replaced him with Lalli. He just walked by me with all his gear on the way to the clubhouse. I'm guessing he'll be in Chicago tonight.

Apparently he didn't even have time to dress.  Rizzo isn't expected to be activated until Tuesday and still no word on what the corresponding roster move will be.


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  • In reply to SFToby:

    (slowly joins in the clapping)

  • Even though this was expected, still makes my day!

  • In reply to Kyle R:

    Me too! Had been writing two articles at the same time when this news came out. I guess the other stuff will have to wait.

  • Nice! excellent timing as i was just offered tickets to wednesday's game.

    As far as the call up It was time, he cant prove anything else in AAA and we got the extra year of control

    Additionally it gives us somehing interesting at the MLB level, i am all for it.

  • In reply to Andrew13:

    Perfect timing...for you, Rizzo, and the Cubs (from a financial standpoint, anyway).

  • Well, well, I guess we all have reason to pay attention to the mother club now! Curious who will be sent down. Campana? Cardenas? At least they have options remaining.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Has to be an OF'er I would think. They've got 6 between LaHair now, Soriano, DeJesus, Campana, Johnson, and Mather.

    I'd like to keep Campana because his speed is a weapon. Wonder if we can trade Reed for a PTBNL or something.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd like to keep Campana, too. Mather can play 3B and Valbuena 2B, so I do not see how sending Cardenas down can put too much strain on the roster.

    Of course, with this FO, something else may break before the Rizzo promotion actually takes place. That could explain why Rizzo was pulled in the middle of a game...

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Agreed that Cardenas is the most likely. He has struggled with inconsistent playing time. And the Cubs don't really need another LH bat with the recent additions of Valbuena and now Rizzo, not to mention Clevenger healthy again.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I could see Baker being traded as his role now has become expendable. LaHair is the backup at first, Mather is the backup at third. Baker is redundant now.

  • I think expectations for him will be high because of his numbers this year, but fans won't see him as a savior. Not with our record. Maybe if we were a .500 team.

    Being reported he'll be activated Tuesday, so his debut won't be tonight.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Thanks Carne...I'll update my piece as well.

  • Merry Rizzmas, everyone!

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Rizzmas in June!

  • Although I'm overjoyed to finally welcome Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs, my enthusiasm is slightly tempered by noting that we'll be facing LHPs Santana, Niese, Happ, and Wandy Rodriguez this week.

    Have a good one ...

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He hits LHP pretty well, though. I think he'll still get a chance to play, unlike LaHair

  • My guess is that Rizzo will start pretty fast, pouncing on opposing pitchers' mistakes. But then the advanced scouting will catch up to him, leading to an Aug / Sept slump. The key to hitting in the majors is making adjustments to the way pitchers are attacking you. And there's no way to know for sure if Rizzo has that ability or he doesn't, until you put him in front of major league pitchers. From a fan's perspective, best to not get too excited by his success, nor too frustrated by his failures.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Absolutely. The key is always making adjustments. On the bright side, Rizzo got to make a few in AAA, but there will be more coming. At least we already know he's capable of making them (I'm looking at you, Corey Patterson!)

  • Will be interesting to see if the Players Union files a service time grievance....

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I'm sure they were very careful to have something consistent in place that happened to coincide. Interestingly, he did get a MLB full season in AAA -- exactly 162 games. I don't think there's much they can do and everyone is aware that it goes on.

  • On.the assumption there is a theme in the front office.....when are BJax and Vitters projected to get to 162 games at AAA?

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    Vitters won't get it until about May of next year. BJax should get it by early August...the 6th, I believe.

  • Hooray! Now we have something exciting to watch besides Castro.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Can't wait until tomorrow...

  • I'm sure they'll bench Rizzo against lefties because it is so important that Baker gets his swings in...

  • In reply to eaton53:

    And as soon as that happens Theo and Jed are running to the club house yelling "What the Hell!".

  • In reply to eaton53:

    I don't think that will least I hope it doesn't. LaHair is one thing, no excuse to bench Rizzo.

  • I can not believe that Sveum keeps pumping out those right handers to hit lefties. At some point, you have to adjust. Give La Hair and De Jesus another shot and see what they can do. La Hair didn't sit against lefties at Iowa. Put him in there and help him get better. I am ok with an occasional sit down against a tough lefty, especially if Baker or Johnson have good numbers against that opponent, but La Hair is your future, Baker and Johnson are not. Very happy to see Rizzo in Chicago. Makes it fun to watch again.

  • Just got home from Spain last night. I thank this site for catching me up on everything Cubs.

    Now it's time for some Rizzo talk. The corresponding transaction is killing me right now. Nobody is being placed on the DL, and there is already a logjam in the outfield with LaHair now getting some time out there. Campana doesn't deserve a demotion right now, so it's a possibility that there has been some sort of trade. Today's lineup is no indicator, as we are in automatic-loss-vs-a-southpaw formation.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    I'm completely jealous you went to Spain!

    I have a gut feeling a very minor trade is on the way.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Host family and all for 2 weeks. There were these places called "Locutorios" where you walked in, went on a computer, and payed for it at the end. The guy who owned the one I went to was Dominican. He started to talk to me about baseball when he noticed me on this site, then brought me to his computer where he was watching a live stream of Nationals vs Yankees. He's from the same pueblo as Carlos Marmol. Kind of funny considering Spaniards know nothing of baseball.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    Very cool. Spain is definitely not a baseball nation...Dominican's on the other hand...

  • Free agent OF Marlon Byrd has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance!!!!!

    I always liked Marlon as a person...but you could see his skills deteriorate over the last year or so. Will be interesting to see what his excuse is.

  • In reply to cowboy2024:

    Wonder if this means the Cubs can void his contract (remaining money)? Might save them a couple million.

  • In reply to cowboy2024:

    That's a good question. I'll see if I can find out.

  • In reply to cowboy2024:

    Just wrote a quick piece. I think he never knew but it was because he put his trust in someone that he should not have trusted.

  • And the page turns as the next phase of the rebuild begins. This is long overdue and quite anti-climatic.

    With the current Cub configuration being as painful to experience as having a root canal, it stands to expect that the Cubs might actually start to be slightly interesting.

    We still have such a long way to go to address what has become one of the most uninteresting teams in sports today.

    Cub tickets should be affordable come August and September, if not already.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    Tickets went up to $91 from $14 tomorrow after Rizzo announcement. That's insane.

    I do agree that this team just got slightly more interesting to watch.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    They didn't get $77 worth of interesting.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    haha! agreed!

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    I'm starting him on my fantasy league team. I need him to go .400/.600./.800 the rest of the way.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Seriously though, .275/.350/.525 is reasonable. In fact, if he just did that over a career, he'd be ahead of the game. Rizzo probably isn't going to be a perennial all-star, but he has all the makings of a proverbial "glue" guy. I have a feeling it isn't going to be long before it becomes his clubhouse, and I mean that in a good way.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Maybe he's your fantasy team savior, but the Cubs need a lot more work :)

  • Cool!!, glad his day has come, he may as well get started. It's a good sized jump to the" bigs" as they say... it isnt all going to be sunshine and I gotta believe most fans know that, I know he's going to be another big building block and long time, big time producer at first base. Dont ya'll think most of the fan base is past the "savior" thing?, at least right off the bat?, it's the wonky media d-heads that kind of worry me about hounding the guy constantly with their same old, same old day after day stupid questions and comparisons to the next coming... just hope they dont drag him down for not single handedly making up those 24 games under. We got to let him be himself, learn to make the adjustments he's going to have to, get over the wow factor and play ball everyday. Those that know him say he's mentally ready so maybe I'm thinking of stuff I dont need to...feel like a dad watching his son heading out on his own or something lol, you go Riz!!

  • In reply to daddyo:

    I believe that the contributors/readers on this site know he isn't a savior but I can't speak for all Cubs fans on that.

    It is kind of weird like that with prospects. You kind of follow them along and then suddenly...they graduate.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's funny seeing everyone's expectations of Rizzo. Some people are going overboard because of all the gaudy AAA stats, while other people are over conservative because of all the Hee Seop Chois and Felix Pies in recent memory.

    The thing about Rizzo is he is the best Cubs position prospect (apart from perhaps Castro) to come up in a really long time--he clearly has a better resume than the failures who have proceeded him. I don't think that it's unreasonable to expect him to be capable of an all-star season here or there. A lot of guys have all star seasons. But we need to be prepared for the ups and downs that all players have, and not expect stardom in the short term, or for him to be a perfect player who never struggles and has no weaknesses.

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    He's not in the lineup tonight vs a lhp. Is Sveum going to platoon him?

  • In reply to Just Win:

    He's not yet active. Will be activated tomorrow. Unlike LaHair, he's hit LHP well, so I think he'll get a shot.

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    I know Vitters isn't completely ready yet, but could he do worse then Baker or Mather. I would welcome the removal of these veteren (low ceiling) guys from the roster. Seeing how it takes Vitters some time to adjust to the next level, shouldn't he be up now, while we are losing. We would at least be able to see if he had the ability to adjust to mlb pitching, and improve over the rest of the season.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Maybe not, but you want him to continue to develop him in an environment where pitchers aren't gong to be two steps ahead of him.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm just tired of seeing Baker and Mather in the lineup. I liked Mather out of ST, but he just doesnt make enough contact and Baker doesnt provide much either. Everytime they come to at bat they diminish their trade value. Maybe the answer is to give Valbuena the majority of starts at third.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    I don't want to see those guys either. Valbuena sounds like a good compromise for now.

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    In reply to Nick Johnson:

    The article the other day about pitches per ab, contact outside the strike zone, etc. was excellent and really showed that Vitters (and Jackson) need more time in the minors.

    We often forget how young Vitters is. Right now he's playing AAA with mostly older guys who played college ball and even older guys than that who seem to be 4A type of players. Vitters was drafted out of high school. He's still only 22. Jackson is a year older. Rizzo is the same age but a phenom. And Castro is still a pretty young player in the majors at the same age as Vitters. Not everyone advances at the same speed, but calling him up before he's really ready is a great way to ruin the kids confidence and he's done. Remember Gary Scott, one of the best examples. Vitters already has huge question marks about his ability to be a big league everyday player. He doesn't work the count, swings at everything, and plays mediocre defense on top of it all. Bringing him up early and planting that seed of doubt in his head about being able to be a big leaguer could doom him.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    I don't think they'll bring up Vitters until he's at the point where he won't totally embarrass himself defensively. He's made some steps, but he's not there yet. It's going to be hard enough for him to hit MLB pitching at this point, without the extra mental pressure of being inadequate defensively. There was a quote from Sveum a week or two ago that basically said the same thing--he's got a long way to go defensively, and they won't bring him up until he's shown more improvement in that area.

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    So who is this rizzo kid you speak of? All jokes aside I'm really excited over this move now I'm really waiting for trades to come even though I don't think any team will over pay for garza/dempster but one can dream right ?

  • In reply to Kent Kellett:

    Rizzo is a Cubs prospect of some note :)

    I think teams more likely to give surplus value on Garza. Theo probably won't trade him otherwise.

  • Good luck, Anthony! First LaHair has a breakout season, then I see Billy Buck is now the hitting coach at Boise, now Rizzo makes his Cubs debug this week. This is the year for Cubs first basemen. Where's Leon D. and Gracie? Maybe there'll be a reunion of sorts ;-)

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Bring em all back!

  • I find whats going on with the Cubs, from DL up to Wrigley fascinating, simply see the who's, how's, when's, the strategiies at least that we're aware of and from the excellent info and insight available only here at the Cubs Den thanks to John and Tom and everyone of the most knowledgable contributors/readers anywhere.....I'm lovin' it as this plan will continue to come together the next few years.

  • In reply to daddyo:

    Thanks daddyo!

  • "Apparently he didn't even have time to dress."
    This saves time at the gate. No strip search required!!

    "Just got home from Spain last night."
    Hope you left some money there. Sounds like they need it.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    LOL :)

  • I don't know if you remember, John, but a couple weeks ago I asked you your best guess of when Rizzo would be called up and you said...

    the 25th.

    You're a witch or a jedi. Not sure which.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    He is a Jedi Witch.

  • In reply to eaton53:


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