In more than a few ways, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was a solution for the New York Yankees when he came over from the Chicago Cubs right before the trade deadline. The team wasnâ€™t getting any production from the first base position, as Luke Voit spent a lot of time on the shelf, and they needed some offensive and defensive stability, a left-handed hitter, and a veteran presence.
For the most part, Rizzo delivered, even if his offensive numbers were underwhelming. With the Yankees, he hit .249/.340/.428 with eight home runs and a 113 wRC+: it was far from the 145-155 wRC+ he used to have at peak, but age and decline come for all of us, and the 32-year-old slugger isnâ€™t the exception. His best years do seem to be behind him.
Despite the somewhat disappointing offensive output, Rizzo was a worthwhile addition for the Yankees. He was a veteran leader, a clubhouse darling, he got on base, and played some very good defense, as always. Most importantly, he apparently had a good time in the Bronx.
The Yankees could still bring back Rizzo
“The time in New York was great. We loved it,” Rizzo said on Jomboy Mediaâ€™s Compound Podcast (link to SI.com article here). “We lived in the Upper West Side. Lived near (Central Park). Took Kevin (his dog) to the park pretty much every day in the morning, a nice stroll through Central Park. Got to basically live in the city for two or three months and enjoy New York City for those two or three months and then playing baseball for the Yankees, it was a good time. We really enjoyed it.
“You put that uniform on for the first time, it’s definitely special. … There’s only a few jerseys around this league that when you put them on, it’s different, and the Yankees are definitely one of them.”
Voitâ€™s future with the Yankees is uncertain, and there is a fair chance the team brings back Rizzo for 2022, depending on their pursuit of fellow first baseman Matt Olson (via trade) and Freddie Freeman (via free agency).