The New York Yankees traded with the Chicago Cubs for Anthony Rizzo just before the trade deadline; after he spent 10 years with the Cubs. He immediately made an impact hitting over .400 and getting two home runs in his first series with the Yankees against the Miami Marlins. Yankee fans were both amazed and thought they had another big time star player, but that performance soon deteriorated for the remainder of the season except for a few shining moments.
He ended his season with the Yankees hitting .a pedestrian .249 with only eight home runs. Rizzo is now a free agent who has made it very clear that he would like to remain in New York via a family member. He is coming off a $16 million per year contract. The problem with that figure for both Rizzo and the Yankees is that his down the stretch performance wasn’t worth that kind of money.
However, there were many pluses to acquiring Rizzo. Big time was his defense at first base which was a big upgrade from anyone else that played first in 2021. He had a lefty bat that helped the Yankees create a different look to the lineup. Also for a team that strikes out a lot; Rizzo doesn’t. He is a three time Gold Glover at first base.
The Yankees have a lot of nuts to crack this offseason, a major one is who to replace Gleyber Torres with at short, but they also need to shore up the starting rotation and get an everyday centerfielder to match up with Aaron Hicks, who can’t seem to stay healthy.Â The need for production and defense at first base seldom gets the attention it deserves.
Although Luke Voit hit the most home runs in 2020; he fell flat in 2021 when he was bogged down with injuries. He hit only .239 with only eleven home runs. Voit has played in only an average of 70 games in each of his four seasons with the Yankees. Rizzo has performed better at first than any first baseman since Mark Teixeira. With Rizzo seemingly wanting to stay in pinstripes, the only question remaining is if the Yankees can come to a deal that will be acceptable to both parties.
Rizzo will be 33 years old this coming season, contract length will also be an issue for the Yankees. One thing is for sure, for Rizzo to remain in the Bronx he will have to take a huge salary reduction and for less years than he would like, otherwise the Yankees will let him walk.