Should the Yankees trade veteran first baseman?

MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics, anthony rizzo
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever a franchise with yearly championship expectations like the New York Yankees fails to make the playoffs, roster shakeups are bound to happen. New York could look to trade big-named 1B Anthony Rizzo in favor of a younger option.

Is Yankees 1b Anthony Rizzo Over the Hill?

Rizzo, 34, posted his lowest OPS (.706) since his rookie season with the San Diego Padres. He missed 63 games on the year with post-concussion syndrome and last took the field for the Yankees on Aug. 1 in their 5–2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

He was able to dominate at the plate as a power hitter in 2022, equalling his career-best 32 home runs in 25 fewer games than his 2016 All-Star and World Series-winning season with the Chicago Cubs. As a result of his resurgent play, Rizzo re-upped with the franchise in November of 2022 on a two-year, $40 million deal, but 2023 told a different story.

Health was a major determinant in Rizzo’s down productivity this year, and as he is set to turn 35 at the tail end of the 2024 campaign, New York could look to unload his $17 million off their books for a younger, better option.

Can The Yankees Swap Rizzo for Another High-Profiled First Baseman?

The rumor mill at first base is narrow. Chicago Cubs 1B Ian Happ signed a three-year contract extension in April, taking him off the table. New York Mets star slugger Pete Alonso and 2022 MVP Paul Goldschmidt have both had their names in trade talks, but both are expected to stay with their respective franchises and would require more than Rizzo straight up to make a deal work.

Elsewhere, the Yankees could use help in the RBI department and overall efficiency at the plate. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Chicago White Sox were willing to listen to offers for virtually every player on their roster ahead of the deadline and that none were untouchable including All-Star Luis Robert Jr.

1B Andrew Vaughn posted a .258/.314/.459 line in 2023 and could be looked at as a realistic option to replace Rizzo in the Yankees’ infield. He posted 80 RBIs and an impressive 30 doubles while batting at cleanup and fifth in the White Sox’s order, proving he can drive runners in scoring position to home plate.

San Diego Padres OF Juan Soto has been most closely linked to the team as the best option to improve their hitting but the Yankees can wait for him to become a free agent in 2024.

It wouldn’t hurt the Yankees to stay with Rizzo manning first for now. Seeing how a full recovery impacts his play can up his trade value for a midseason deal in 2024. Starting pitchers Alex Cobb (San Francisco Giants) and Yusei Kikuchi (Toronto Blue Jays) are two sub-4.00 ERA pitchers who have had their names in rumor reports and have the cache to help an already strong rotation get better in hopes of dethroning the Houston Astros and whoever comes out of the American League this postseason.

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