Last night, the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in a wild game where New York scored two in the top of the ninth to get the win. The game featured two of the best pitchers in the game battling in Gerrit Cole and Shane McClanahan.
McClanahan brought an ERA under 2 into the game and was going to be a massive challenge for the Yankees to overcome. In the first inning, the lefty took on one of the hottest hitters in the Yankees’ lineup, Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo had a 2-2 count and really choked up on the bat. McClanahan threw a 98 MPH heater and Rizzo deposited the ball into the outfield seats. Overall, Rizzo went 2-4 in the Yankees win last night upping his batting average to .238.
Rizzo has now hit 19 home runs (four in the last five games) on the season which is tied for third overall and he has 49 RBIs which is good for a tie for seventh. Overall, Rizzo’s slash line is a very impressive .238/.339/.525. All good for an OPS of .864 which is 19th in all of baseball.
Will the Yankees extend Rizzo?
All of the focus surrounding the Yankees upcoming offseason has been around Aaron Judge and for good reason. Judge is by far the favorite to win the MVP this year and he’s the face of the franchise. However, he isn’t the only Yankee having a career year.
While the batting average isn’t near career highs, Anthony Rizzo is on pace to hit over 40 homers and drive in over 110 runs. Both of those would be career best for Rizzo. The RBIs might be tougher to get, but I don’t think there’s any doubt Rizzo beats his career high in homers which is 32.
Rizzo is a perfect fit for the Yankees. He embodies what you think of when you think of a classic Yankee. Not too mention he’s a great lefty bat and plays tremendous defense at first. Combine that with his leadership and personality and it’s a perfect fit.
Before the season, Rizzo signed a two year deal with the Yankees that features a player option for the second year. No doubt about it, Rizzo is going to opt out of that deal after having this type of season.
2023 and Beyond
The question is whether or not New York will pay him what he wants. The Yankees have a number of players coming off the books: Judge, Rizzo, Gallo, Taillon, Britton, Green, and Chapman.
Gallo, Britton, Green, and Chapman are not being brought back. Judge is going to be top priority with Taillon and Rizzo coming in right behind him. Rizzo is going to want a multiyear deal and after this year he deserves it.
He’s turning 33 years old this season and is likely going to be searching for a four-year deal. Will the Yankees give it to him? That I’m not sure about. However, they are going to seriously consider it and they might be wise to do it considering the impact he’s already made on this club.