- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Similar to the contract Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro signed late last season, what makes first baseman Anthony Rizzo's new seven-year, $41 million deal interesting is his age and service time.
Without a full season in the majors, Rizzo is getting the security many players have to wait for while the Cubs are getting a bargain for an up-and-coming player. But at 23, Rizzo has left himself open for another huge contract either at the end of this new one or before it even expires.
While it seems like a team-friendly deal -- just like Castro's seven-year, $60 million contract -- the Cubs are still taking a risk. Half a season in 2012 and a decent start to 2013 is hardly enough evidence to know Rizzo is going to be a seven-year starter although all indications are he will be.
If Rizzo goes bonkers on the field, he probably won't have to wait seven years to sign another extension. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was already signed through 2016 when the team extended his deal another six years this past offseason. Rizzo can probably count on that kind of treatment from Cubs' brass considering general manager Jed Hoyer has traded for him twice already.
After all, according to Rizzo's agent Marc Pollack, it was only days after the Cubs renewed Rizzo's old contract in March for $498,000 that they started talking about a new one. This was before he set a franchise record for home runs by a left-hander in April, hitting eight.
Rizzo's camp is confident he'll be taken care of again by the Cubs if his career warrants it. And even if the Cubs balk later on at another huge deal, he can still make up to $73 million over the span of the seven years, plus two club option years, until he becomes a free agent. That's not a bad deal without having played a full season in the major leagues.
Like Castro, all Rizzo has to do is perform and he'll be well compensated for the rest of his career. He's off to a good start both on the field and now in his wallet.
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