Almost 11 months ago, the cameras focused on what the Cubs hoped would be a new face of the franchise. No one knew for certain when Anthony Rizzo arrived at Wrigley Field and answered the question this way: “I’m here to stay.”

Inside the same cramped interview room/dungeon, the Cubs held another press conference on Monday, this time announcing a seven-year, $41 million contract for a core player they’re building around. It includes club options for 2020 and 2021, through the stadium renovation that’s supposed to be a game-changer.

Rizzo looked more like a mogul, with his hair slicked back and the collar to his white dress shirt wide open. The total value of the deal could be worth $68 million if the Cubs use those options, and potentially rise as high as $73 million if he plays at an MVP level and hits all his performance bonuses.

Since that overhyped promotion from Triple-A Iowa on June 26 last year, Rizzo has hit .283 with 24 homers and 76 RBIs in 124 games and shown Gold Glove potential at first base. Unique relationships drove the negotiations that began around the final two weeks of spring training, went into Opening Day timeout and ramped back up again about 10 days ago.

Team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and scouting/player development chief Jason McLeod knew Rizzo as a high school kid in South Florida, choosing him in the sixth round of the 2007 draft for the Boston Red Sox and later packaging him in the Adrian Gonzalez deal with the San Diego Padres.