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The 2016 Chicago Cubs were broken up to near completion last summer with some major trade deadline deals, Anthony Rizzo included.
Memories of the curse being lifted are becoming a more distant memory. Fortunately, for those hoping to experience a little bit more of the magic that occurred only a few years ago, the latest Cubs rumors hint at the possibility of at least one of the fan-favorites from 2016 returning.
According to MLB insider Bruce Levine, a reunion between the Cubs and Anthony Rizzo is “possible.”
Rizzo has been one of the major players in this offseason’s free agent market, in large part because of what his future could mean in regards to the eventual outcome of Freddie Freeman. Regarded as the second-best first baseman available in the market, these latest Cubs rumors should give fans some hope of some sort of competitiveness on the field in 2022.
Cubs rumors: What an Anthony Rizzo reunion could mean
Adding Rizzo alone would hardly turn the Cubs’ fortunes around. They’ve also lost some other significant pieces in the lineup. Kris Bryant remains available in free agency while Javier Baez already has a fresh new deal with the Detroit Tigers. Both could have, theoretically, reunited with the Cubs as well.
The Cubs weren’t completely silent before the MLB lockout began. They picked up Wade Miley on waivers in what might be one of the savviest of moves they could have done to help rebuild the rotation. The team made a bigger splash when they pulled in Marcus Stroman through free agency.
There are plenty of other needs for the Cubs to address. Previous Cubs rumors have suggested two possibilities for the shortstop position this year. The underwhelming targets of Jose Iglesias and Jonathan Villar look to be very temporary. Neither should cost a lot. Built around the right players, perhaps it can work out well for Chicago.
Before getting traded to the New York Yankees last summer, Rizzo was hitting .248/.346/.446 with the Cubs in 376 trips to the plate. He would end up hitting .248/.344/.440 overall with 22 home runs and 61 RBI in his 576 plate appearances all year long. It was a major decline from what Cubs fans had seen in the past. Lifetime with the team, he batted .272/.372/.489. He has averaged 29 home runs and 94 RBI per 162 games (all teams included).
The Cubs are one of those fringe teams that could either be really good or really bad next season. A lot will depend on whether they settle for moves like a Rizzo reunion or if they go further.
Other Cubs rumors have suggested the team will look to bolster their bullpen with some high-leverage relievers. If true, a short-term rendezvous with Rizzo might not be just one of several additions we see the Northsiders do before Opening Day.