CHICAGO — The backbone of the franchise, the player that signaled the start of a new era, and the unofficial captain of the Chicago Cubs is on his way to play in a different set of pinstripes for the remainder of the 2021 season.



First Baseman and Chicago legend Anthony Rizzo is heading to New York to play for the Yankees, in exchange for two, top-15 prospects in their organization.

The 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino and 19-year-old outfielder Kevin Alcantara are the prospects returning to the Cubs’ system. Both players rank at #9 and #12 respectively on the Yankee’s prospect list. The Cubs will pick up the remaining $6 million on Rizzo’s contract.

As hard as it is to swallow, and it’s a doozy, Cub fans knew this was coming. The departures of Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, and of course Yu Darvish signaled a new era before the first pitch of 2021 was thrown. Not only was that a dead giveaway, but there have also been multiple reports say Rizzo and the front office remained very far apart on any potential extension.

With the team not constructed to win the World Series, let alone the NL Central, the second smartest move a general manager can do is unload all expiring contracts to load up for the future.

The smartest thing he/she can do is pay players that are capable of being the foundation of another winner on the north side of Chicago. But that does not appear to be in the cards for first-year GM Jed Hoyer, who in no fault of his own, inherited a very difficult situation. Months into the job, it’s clear he’s been financially handcuffed by the Rickett’s family.

Is that for the best? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. After all, the way the team looks right now, as much as fans may love it, was not winning at the highest level. No matter which way you choose to look at it, no matter how hard it weighs on the hearts of millions of fans, what’s done is done and the Cubs are moving into another era.

All fans can do now is look back and be thankful for the amazing moments #44 brought us over the last ten seasons. Three all-star appearances, four gold gloves, the 2016 World Series, the series in which he caught the final out and so much more.

It’s going to hurt for quite some time, but Anthony Rizzo will eventually have a statue at the intersection of Clark and Addison.

That’s a moment we can all look forward to, whenever it may come.

Thank you for everything, #44.

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A Chicagoland native and a Marquette University graduate with a passion for the sports media field. If I’m not watching sports, I’m listening to Chicago sports radio or exploring Milwaukee.