Could Yankees trade veteran first baseman to offload $20 million?

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in the process of putting together a competitive roster for the 2024 campaign. They owe it to their fans after missing the 2023 campaign with some mediocre play and glaring depth issues created after some lousy off-season planning and execution.

As part of the process, they would ideally get younger and more athletic. Many of the contracts, such as Giancarlo Stanton’s for example, are too large to be easily moved. There could be other potential deals, though.

The Yankees could consider trading first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who will be entering the second season of a two-year, $40 million contract, to get a bit younger and offload $20 million in salary.

Could the Yankees do that? As always, it would depend on the (hypothetical) compensation, but there are a few potential problems that could complicate any trade involving Rizzo.

The Yankees would have a hard time trading Rizzo

The first issue would be his health. Rizzo was raking up until May 28, but a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr. produced a series of lingering concussion symptoms, his reaction times were slower, and additional neurological testing revealed signs of cognitive impairment. He was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and was shut down on August 1. He tried to return, but there was no point.

He did take at-bats in September and could have returned if the Yankees were in the race late in the season. He seems to be better, but his exact health status is a mystery, and teams don’t like mysteries.

Then, we have his overall body of work in 2023. For the season as a whole, Rizzo slashed .244/.328/.378 with a .706 OPS. His OPS was .880 up until May 28 and .496 after that. Evidently, the injury ruined his year.

Perhaps the Yankees are able to find a match, but it looks highly unlikely, given the circumstances.

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