Everyone who has seen the Chicago Cubs play in recent weeks needs to admit that they are no longer a punching bag at the bottom of the National League. With the successful promotions of Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, the future looks as bright as it has ever been. But instead of rushing to get star first baseman Anthony Rizzo back and make the lineup even more fierce, the Cubs need to remain patient and shut him down for the remainder of the season.
While winning and getting hot are nice, building toward next year is much more important. After a season of struggle last year where he batted just .233 with 23 home runs, Rizzo has rebounded nicely this season and become elite. He not only was able to appear in his first All-Star game, but he launched 30 home runs through 129 games and drove in 71 runs.
Back injuries are not something to mess with. They can linger and cause problems throughout a player’s entire career. While it would be nice to see the offense closer to full-strength with Rizzo in the middle of the order, the Cubs need to do everything they can to keep him on the bench. By holding him out now the Cubs can all but guarantee that Rizzo will back in the heart of the lineup next season. With the lineup already powerful, new call-ups like Addison Russell and Kris Bryant are expected to be promoted next year to make the team even more deadly. With Rizzo shutdown and back in the heart of the order next season, the Cubs will move from an opposing pitcher’s dream, to their worst nightmare.