"I do know I've seen rumors long enough to know it'll be rumors until Aug. 1, and that's when the (trade) deadline is over. We're just starting a little earlier this year, in May."
Actually, July 31 is just the non-waiver trade deadline. The Justin Verlander trade rumors lasted until Aug. 31 last year before the Tigers ace was dealt to the Astros.
But Rizzo's point is well taken. The baseball rumor mill usually doesn't crank up until late June or early July. Yet every website needs click-worthy material, and sports radio needs something to discuss until Bears full squad minicamp starts June 5.
The real question is whether Cubs' fans really are clamoring for Machado or it's just a media creation derived from a confluence of unconnected events — Machado being in town to play the White Sox and the Cubs failing to live up to preseason expectations.
Kris Bryant said it's crazy to worry about the Cubs after what they have accomplished.
"When you look at the talent in here and what we've been able to do, it would be kind of foolish to doubt us," he said. "We're right where we need to be."
But a little help never hurts, and some are doing their best to get the ball rolling. Some fans held up a sign at Sox Park on Monday saying "Chicago Wants Machado." But it turned out to be a couple of radio guys from the Cubs' flagship station. Cubs pre- and postgame TV host David Kaplan claimed on NBC Sports Chicago that the town had come down with "Manny Fever," but it looked to me like seasonal allergies, perhaps because of the very high pollen count the heavy rain stirred up.
I've covered a lot of "watches" at Wrigley over the years, dating back to the Mike Piazza watch 20 years ago. The Cubs lost out to the Mets, who acquired Piazza from the Marlins on May 22, 1998, for three prospects. When the names of those prospects were scrolled on ESPN on the clubhouse TV, an angry Cubs player stood up and yelled: "You have to be kidding."
Then-Cubs President Andy MacPhail assuaged disappointed Cubs fans, saying, "We'll have plenty of opportunities to improve." The Cubs wound up getting Matt Karchner at the trade deadline for, gulp, Jon Garland.
Every Machado trade scenario seems to involve Addison Russell, who said he's not paying attention, as if that was possible. Manager Joe Maddon said he feels for Russell, who wants to remain a Cub.
"Of course," Maddon said. "You talk about a 24-year-old hitter. How about a 24-year-old human being having to try to process all of that. Whether he's hearing it or not from anywhere here, it's (his) mom, dad, brother, friend, former coach, on the phone (asking) 'What's this all about?'
"He has to be inundated with that conversation. He didn't ask for it. He's just doing his job."
Maddon said it's only human for the rumors to affect Russell.
"He would be robotic if he (was) not," he said. "If he was 7-10 years into the league, and something like this was been bantered about, not nearly as much. But the age he's at, the experience level he's at, it can't help but have an impact.
"We just have to continue to nurture him here and talk to him all the time. There are certain things you can't control. You can't control what's being said. You can control how you react to it. That's the best thing we can encourage him to do, and he'll get our support."
Manny Machado Week will come to an end Thursday when the Orioles finish their four-game series on the South Side and head to Tampa Bay, where no one cares where the star shortstop is headed.
As for the Cubs?
They will have plenty of opportunities to improve.