Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/12/14
Anthony Rizzo has a .253 average, 25 home runs, and a .765 OPS in 173 career games. For that, the 23-year old Cubs slugger  was awarded with a 7-year, $41 million contract, buying out all his remaining arbitration years, plus two free agent seasons. Steep? Maybe. But that’s now the going rate for a budding player of Rizzo’s ilk. Cost certainty is a term we’ve become familiar with here in Philly as Ruben Amaro tried it for several years with players of all ages. Teams are no longer letting their players inch through arbitration and get closer to free agency. Because of the arbitration rules, and the rising cost of star players, Rizzo’s contract is almost a must. Instead of seeing Rizzo turn in great season after great season, and see his pay skyrocket due to those arbitration rules, the Cubs decided to give him a long-term deal at a fair value – and one that still makes him a very rich man at 23. Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Ryan Braun all inked similar deals at similar stages in their career, and the teams they play for were happy to do it. There’s obvious risk involved for both sides – if a player turns out to be a bust, you’re paying out the nose several seasons down the road. From the players perspective, he could be giving up tens of millions toward the back end of the deal if he turns out to be the real deal. No longer can teams rely on building through free agency. As you saw this past season, lots of past-their-prime players hit the market; Josh Hamilton got $25 million per season, B.J. Upton got a ridiculous $75 million contract. Add to it that players on the wrong side of 30 are seeing a rapid decline due to the crackdown on performance enhancers, free agency is no longer as appealing as it once way. Ruben Amaro’s job now, as long as he has one, should be to build through the farm system. They’re no longer in a position to expend generous heaps of minor league talent to supply the big league team with star players from other teams. At least not for the time being. Amaro and company will have to find the next group, just as Ed Wade found Ryan Madson, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard once upon a time. Take a look at next year’s free agent crop. There is only one position player under the age of 30 – Alexi Casilla. It’s filled with early-to-mid 30′s players dying for a multi-year deal, and one in which they’ll likely underachieve in its final season or two. It’s the nature of the game as it’s now constructed. There are few game-changing players becoming available. It now comes down to what you have in your system. That’s where Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, and Domonic Brown become so important. They’re young and cost controlled. And the Phillies have to hope they blossom.  
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Bucs to keep Vincent Jackson under current contract

Twins to limit players' smartphone use on game days

Shane Battier: Carmelo Anthony is not that tough to guard

Ronda Rousey would be 'happy' to fight Cat Zingano again

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans after loss


Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

Dick Vitale will not call Duke-UNC rematch either

PHOTO: Auburn coaches, players wear ribbons for Mason

Dustin Penner apologizes after sending rape joke on Twitter

Report: Cowboys to use franchise tag on Dez Bryant

Are the Oakland Raiders finally trending up?

Durant blasts Instagram hater for Westbrook comment

Three potential big signings the Steelers could make

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for Timberwolves fans

Michigan fan has incredible Charles Woodson tattoo

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

Chris Sale out three weeks with foot injury

NHL analyst calls out media over Blackhawks report

Alabama recruits aim to bring the dynasty back

WATCH: Jon Jones, Rumble Johnson prank Dana White

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Twins to limit game day cell phone use

Kevin Durant blasts hater on Instagram

KG buys 1,000 tickets for T-Wolves fans

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans

Cowboys letting Murray test market?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Rousey beats Zingano in 14 seconds

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Could Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG plays dirty with Inglewood stadium

Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Westbrook got dent in his cheek

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.