Losing starting first baseman Anthony Rizzo would be a massive problem for the Yankees, who don’t have a supplement available. They could shift DJ LeMahieu to first base full-time, but they would be losing his defensive efficiency at second base or on the hot corner depending on what they do with Josh Donaldson.
The Yankees presented Rizzo with the qualifying offer of $19.65 million, but he could easily reject it and look for a long-term deal. At 33 years old, Rizzo has been rather consistent, playing in a minimum of 130 games over the past two seasons. In fact, if you eliminate the Covid-influenced campaign in 2020, Rizzo hasn’t played below 130 games since 2012 during his sophomore year.
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The Yankees can afford to lose Anthony Rizzo:
Rizzo was solid for the Bombers this past campaign, hitting .224 with a 33.8% on-base rate, 32 homers, and 75 RBIs. Clearly, his slugging capabilities remain potent, tying his career high in homers, which he set back in 2017. He posted a 40.7% hard-hit rate and 10.9% barrel rate, the first time in his career he reached double digits regarding barrel percentage.
Given the veteran infielder is still playing at a high-level, other teams will undoubtedly be intrigued by his services, as one MLB insider notes.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi names a couple of potential landing spots for the Rizzo:
“Having now the universal DH across Major League Baseball will give National League teams some flexibility. Even if they already have a first baseman in place, to maybe move that first baseman to a DH role and have Anthony come in as a first baseman. I’ve always wondered about the possibility of Anthony going to his native south-Florida and playing for the Marlins … I think Anthony would be a tremendous fit for the Giants, the team we’re going to see be really aggressive with free agency overall with Aaron Judge, too. But Rizzo out there to the West Coast, I would love that fit.”
Rizzo staying in pinstripes may rely heavily on Aaron Judge’s decision. If the Yankees manage to retain Judge, Rizzo will likely stay in the Bronx, given their friendship.
Ultimately, a lot rides on how much money the Bombers are willing to expand on Judge in the coming weeks, but the future of Rizzo may rest on their success or failure to retain the league’s best player.