Yankees: Anthony Rizzo is not “pissed off” at the Cubs anymore

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Before last year’s trade deadline, the New York Yankees acquired lefty-hitting slugger Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for prospects. The first baseman had been with the Cubs since 2011 and was an integral part of their World Series-winning run in 2016.

Rizzo was settled in Chicago, was a fan favorite, and didn’t want to leave. He is, however, over the whole issue at this point, and says he is happy being in New York and playing for the Yankees.

He was a hero in Chicago: he won four Gold Glove Awards and went to three All-Star games in addition to that unforgettable 2016. But the Cubs didn’t want to pay him a long-term deal and traded him before he left nothing in return.

The Yankees first baseman had a hard time getting over the Cubs trading him

Rizzo told the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune (link to NJ Advance Media article here): “Now that it has happened, I’m very happy with where I’m at. … I don’t think it was ever necessarily (acrimonious). It’s business. … They had to make tough business decisions. As a human being, was I pissed off? Of course. But as a baseball player who sees what happens and (knows) this is a business, that’s the way it is. As far as hashing it out, I don’t think there’s much to hash out. … I wish them well.”

The Yankees ended up giving Rizzo a two-year, $32 million contract. Thanks to a hot start, Rizzo has been well worth the money: not only he offers clubhouse presence and leadership, but he is a competent fielder and a well above-average hitter: he is tied for third in MLB in home runs with 10 and has 30 RBI.

He has said in multiple occasions that he likes being a member of the Yankees, and he has proven it with his on-field performance. The past in well in the rearview mirror.

Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman made one genius decision this past off-season

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The New York Yankees overcame the Baltimore Orioles in a wild win on Tuesday evening, scoring 12 runs and featuring one of the best offenses performances of the year. Just a week ago, the Bombers may have been blown out in this contest, but the batter finally awakened and provided the run support the pitchers desperately needed.

Luis Severino got the start against the Orioles, lasting six innings before giving up a three-run homer to Anthony Santander, bringing them within three of the Yankees’ lead. However, the Yanks did everything in their power to continue extending the lead, despite a resilient Baltimore performance, tallying eight runs on the day.

However, if it wasn’t for the performance of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the Yankees might’ve had a harder time putting away the Orioles. Rizzo went 3-for-4, including six RBIs and a walk. Rizzo hosts a .283 batting average this season with a .733 slugging percentage.

In fact, Rizzo currently leads the MLB with eight homers, trailed by Joc Pederson, Byron Buxton, Ozzie Albies, and a slew of other players with six. Rizzo has been an absolute menace to open the year, taking advantage of the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. All three of his homers against Baltimore were within 380 feet, with the first landing 346 feet, the second 378 feet, and the third 327 feet.

His final homer on the evening just barely squeaked inside the right-field foul pole, the shortest part of the stadium from home plate to the wall.

Through 17 games, it seems as if general manager Brian Cashman made a genius decision retaining Rizzo instead of allocating multiple prospects in exchange for Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics or a big-money acquisition like Freddie Freeman.

Olson ended up being traded to Atlanta to replace Freeman. Despite only hitting two homers this year so far, he’s recorded a .355 average over 17 games with a 19.7% strikeout rate and 17.1% walk rate. Olson is still enjoying a phenomenal performance up to this point, but his home run totals don’t even closely mirror Rizzo’s.

On the other hand, Freeman is hitting .328 with three homers and a 16.4% strikeout rate. Rizzo hosts the lowest strikeout rate out of the three and cost the Yankees far less in capital to retain.

The 32-year-old first baseman signed a two-year, $32 million deal to stick with the Yankees, and while he was a backup option, he’s proving why Cashman made the right decision by keeping his prospects and being loyal to a player already on the roster.

Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo has strange message for Aaron Judge and fans as Opening game looms

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With Opening Day just a few hours away, the Yankees are gearing up to take on the Boston Red Sox after the game was postponed due to inclement weather on Thursday.

There’s reason to believe the Yankees will have a strong team this year capable of making a playoff push, but they surely have their shortcomings, specifically in the starting rotation. Spring training has presented a few issues and concerns, but overall, the team has showcased their incredible power and efficiency in the batter’s box.

Some players are a bit more confident  in the team’s abilities but Yankees’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, had a strange message for fans regarding the ebbs and flows of wearing the pinstripes:

“We’re going to be really good at times, we’re going to be ‘what the hell is wrong with the Yankees?’ at times. That’s what comes with putting on this jersey.”

Rizzo had a few odd-ball comments for the media, specifically regarding Aaron Judge’s impending mega-deal. It seems as if Rizzo has lost any sense of loyalty after his experience with contract negotiations and not getting a proper shake with the Chicago Cubs.

“Freddie Freeman isn’t on the Braves anymore. There’s no loyalty in this game.”

This is quite the comment from Rizzo, indicating that Judge should proceed knowing that he must look out for himself and not care about saving the team a penny. From a CBA perspective, Judge should gouge the team for every last cent.

Despite Rizzo’s comments, the Yankees dished out a two-year, $32 million deal for the veteran lefty first baseman. He will play a significant role in the team’s plans and strategy this year, despite having their eyes set on Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson earlier in the off-season.  Over 49 games last season with the Bombers, Rizzo smashed eight homers with a .249 average.

Yankees’ star discusses the importance of getting off to a fast start

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Anthony Rizzo understands the importance of playing for the New York Yankees. He knows the fan base is among the most demanding in the sport, and they don’t like to settle for seasons like 2021, with an early playoffs exit.

It’s crucial to get off to a good start, especially for a team like the Yankees. If the team loses too many games in the early going, they could find themselves in a very deep hole, and getting out is not always easy. Losses in April and May could be costly, and Rizzo knows that.

“You can’t win a World Series in April and May, but you sure can lose one and put yourself out of it. Getting off to a good start is the most important thing in establishing that confidence and that kind of swagger that teams develop throughout the year,” Rizzo said to Max Goodman of SI.com.

You just can’t win the World Series without making the playoffs first. Several things would have to go wrong for the Yankees to miss October baseball, with the expanded postseason to 12 teams (six per league). However, in the tough AL East landscape, winning a lot of games in the first two months of the season is awfully important.

The Yankees are in a really tough division

The Toronto Blue Jays are looking very much improved, and may be the best team of the AL East division. The Tampa Bay Rays are down Tyler Glasnow, but remain an extremely competitive ballclub and finished eight games ahead of the Yankees last year.

The Yankees are quite comparable with the Boston Red Sox, especially since they added shortstop Trevor Story. But they will be without ace Chris Sale for a while and that will hurt them in the standings.

For the Yankees, the keys to the season will be staying consistent month-to-month and win a lot of games in the early going to set the tone like Rizzo says. It’s a very competitive division, and they could finish fourth in a worst-case scenario, jeopardizing their playoff chances.

Yankees’ Luke Voit reacts to Anthony Rizzo signing: ‘I get it’

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Late on Tuesday night, the New York Yankees agreed to terms with first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a two-year, $32 million contract. He will be the starter at the cold corner, leaving Luke Voit’s future up in the air.

Voit suffered a myriad of injuries in 2021, most notably a meniscus problem that ended up taking away most of his season. He is also a defensive liability. When healthy, however, he is a potent power bat capable of leading the league in home runs, as he did in 2020: it was a small sample, but still.

Now, with first base and the designated hitter position mostly occupied, he will likely be traded. While speaking with reporters on Wednesday morning, he was politically correct and said he understood why the Yankees were coveting another first baseman.

“I get it,” he said, per NJ Advance Media.

“These next 19 games are important for me to show other teams … prove that I’m healthy again,” Voit said. Regarding that last sentence, he confirmed he is back to 100 percent.

“I feel great, he stated. “I feel healthy, and that’s all I wanted to control this year. I was preparing myself for a long season. I’m still staying positive.”

He understands it was a business decision by the Yankees

He did admit to being upset and feeling a little dissed. “Absolutely, he said.

He understands it’s a business decision by the Yankees.

“I was hurt (most of the year), so someone’s got to come in and fill that spot, and Anthony did do a good job last year,” Voit explained.

“I know they want to be left-handed, so I get it. This has been a thing since last year with our team being righty dominant. It’s a business.”

The Yankees will likely trade Voit to a team that misses out on Freddie Freeman, the biggest fish available when it comes to hitters.

“Obviously Freddie is still a big part (of this) and I know there’s still going to be a lot more trades,” Voit said. “There are still 100 free agents out there, so I have no idea.”

“I’ve enjoyed myself since I’ve been here in ‘18 and I really enjoyed New York,” Voit said. “It’s the best place to play baseball and who knows? Maybe I’ll still be here. We’ll see what happens.”

Yankees Update: Rizzo signing may complete infield, and more

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The sleeping New York Yankees awoke after the League lockout was lifted. The owners and players finally came to a compromise that led to a signing for a new agreement that will guide baseball for the next five years, averting a one-year plus shutdown, like the work stoppage during the 1994-5 baseball seasons.

After another “failed season,” not reaching the postseason again since 2009, the New York Yankees set out to fill holes on the roster. But in postseason 1.0, before the lockout, they instead sat on their hands and did nothing while other teams scooped up major free agents.

On March 10, 2022, a new agreement was signed after 99 days of negotiation, after the lockout, the Yankees immediately took action to build their team for the 2022 season. They signed a shortstop, replacing Gleyber Torres, who was moved to second base. A new third baseman, a new catcher, help in center field, and finally a new first baseman. These new moves saw Gary Sanchez and fan-favorite Gio Urshela go to the Twins.

First Base – Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo, who played the last games of the 2021 season, was the last hire to determine who will play at first base. Last night they signed Rizzo, instead of Matt Olsen, after he went to the Braves. Rizzo won the contest between him and prized Freddie Freeman, who would have broken the Yankees’ bank. His backup at first will likely be LeMahieu, or if not traded, Luke Voit.

Shortstop – Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Kinner-Falefa came to the Yankees in the Twins mega-trade. Going into the postseason, the shortstop was the Yankee’s greatest need. Before the lockout, they saw Semien and Seager go to the Rangers, leaving Carlos Correa as a free agent. The Yankees, after the lockout, went for Kiner-Falefa that was always on their radar. He is a definite improvement over Gleyber Torres.

Third Base – Josh Donaldson

Coming along in the trade with the Twins was the 36-year-old third baseman veteran Josh Donaldson, who is near the end of his career. Donaldson, in his career, has been an excellent defender. Because of his age, he may allow the Yankees to hold onto Miguel Andujar as a backup. It’s hard to believe a 39-year-old will be allowed to play 162 games.

Backstop – Benjamin Thomas Rortvedt

During the last few years, the Yankees have considered trading catcher Gary Sanchez and now have finally done it, going to the twins. The return is Ben Rortvedt. Rortvedt is an excellent defender but a poor hitter with some power. It is likely he will be a backup catcher, and Kyle Higashioka will start as the Yankee backstop.

Utility – DJ LeMahieu

DJ LeMahieu was resigned to a new contract before the season last season. Last season, the Gold Glove second baseman played all over the infield due to injuries, and Torres moved permanently to second base. Mostly due to the Torres move, he will likely do the same this season.

Utility – Miguel Andujar

After a shoulder injury in 2019, future star Miguel Andujar lost his job as the third baseman to Gio Urshela. Since then, he has had no place to play and looked to be traded. Now with 36-year-old Josh Donaldson as the third baseman, it might give Andujar a new life as a Yankee bench player.

Outfield – Tim Locastro

The Yankees welcome back Tim Locastro, giving the Yankees the needed backup in centerfield caused by the often injured Aaron Hicks. This acquisition might lead to the Yankees parting ways with their 14-year veteran Brett Gardner.

The Yankees have made 22 transactions since March 13th that will attend the shortened spring training that will be on 27 days instead of the normal 40 days. With the Yankees’ seemingly finishing up their infield, don’t be surprised if there are still changes coming in the day ahead.

Yankees avoid blockbuster deal at first base, settle for familiar face

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Despite all the rumors and reports indicating the New York Yankees were involved in the Freddie Freeman sweepstakes, they ended up going with a familiar face, disappointing the fans once again.

Freeman has his eyes set on a West Coast team, despite the emergence of the Boston Red Sox as a potential landing spot for the star first baseman. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for the Yankees, who couldn’t afford to wait any longer as their backup plan was quickly slipping away.

The Yankees even went as far as to offer Freeman a contract, but he turned it down due to a lack of interest. In the meantime, the Yankees re-signed Anthony Rizzo on a two-year, $32 million deal.

Rizzo played well last season wearing pinstripes, posting a .249 average with eight homers and 21 RBIs. While he doesn’t match Freeman’s .300 average and 31 homers, he is still a competent player that can hold down first base for the next few seasons.

With the Chicago Cubs showing their interest in a potential reunion with Rizzo, the Yankees didn’t have much time to make a decision, and at this point, they’ve missed out on nearly every big prospect this off-season, a disappointing reality for a team that has been more aggressive in the past.

Acquiring Freeman was their last opportunity to land one of the big fish on the market, and while Rizzo offers sufficient play at 32 years old, the Yankees as we know them are dead.

Once a team aggressive in their pursuit and willing to spend big money on talent has now found themselves shopping in the clearance section, trying to solve significant issues holding them back from postseason play.

Rizzo’s contract is far more team family, averaging $16 million per season compared to the likely $25+ million Freeman wants in free agency. There’s still time left for the Yankees to make moves, but the free-agent market is thin, and they could use another starting pitcher to go with Gerrit Cole at the top of the rotation. Brian Cashman has signed up to pay Rizzo and Josh Donaldson a combined $41 million — an absurd amount.

Yankees’ plans at first base take big turn after monster trade with Twins

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The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins connected on a big trade Sunday evening, putting the team’s infield plans in flux. Taking on Josh Donaldson and the $50 million remaining on his contract doesn’t leave the Yankees with much money to spend unless they’re going to push behind the luxury tax threshold.

Donaldson will hold down third base with Gio Urshela being included in the deal, but they also acquired Isaiah Kiner-Falefa to fill their shortstop void. The Yankees will have two years of control left on Falefa’s contract, and they expect him to present solid defensive capabilities and good contact hitting in the middle of their order.

It is quite clear that Falefa was their primary target in the trade, consuming the contract of Donaldson and acquiring a reserve catcher in the process. However, that still leaves the first base position wide open, despite Luke Voit being available on the roster.

Rumors have indicated that general manager Brian Cashman is intrigued by Freddie Freeman, but it seems as if the Atlanta Braves star will choose a West Coast-based team, staying close to home. That leaves two options for the Yankees, trading for Oakland Athletics star first baseman Matt Olson or retaining Anthony Rizzo on a contract extension.

According to John Heyman of MLB Netwerk, Rizzo making a return is realistic at this point.

Rizzo finished last season, hitting a combined .248 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs. With the Yankees, he hit .249 with eight homers, recording a 14% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate.

Given his lefty batting stance, Rizzo could post lucrative numbers in Yankee Stadium next season if retained, but they could also make a move for Olson, who features another power bat at a much younger age. Rizzo is currently 32 years old but is still hitting quite well. His batting average is down significantly from 2019, but he still contains plenty of power to help smooth over first base for the Bombers.

Ultimately, it depends if Cashman is willing to give up big-name prospects to acquire Olson in a prospective trade. They will have to give up one of their shortstops climbing the system, most likely Oswald Peraza, keeping Anthony Volpe until he’s ready to make the jump in 2023.

New York Yankees still targeting left-handed first basemen after big trade

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The Yankees made their first big move of the offseason tonight with a bit of a perplexing deal. New York acquired Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela.

It was a deal that took many by surprise especially the acquisition of Josh Donaldson. Of course, immediately the wheels started turning in that this would likely be the first move of many from the Yankees.

Shortly after this deal was officially announced, Ken Rosenthal tweeted out that New York was still in the market for a left-handed first baseman. They still believe they are in the hunt for Freddie Freeman and they are still engaged with Oakland on Matt Olson.

Now, Jon Heyman tweeted out that Anthony Rizzo is a more likely option at this point. Rizzo would be the cheapest option on the free agent market and he wouldn’t cost the Yankees and capital in terms of prospects.

What will the Yankees do next?

I think the next big move you’re going to see from the Yankees is a Luke Voit trade. Whether Voit is in the package that ends up going to Oakland for Olson or not, I think that Voit’s days in New York are numbered.

From the very beginning, I never thought the Yanks were a viable option for Freddie Freeman. Yes, they could change course and offer him more money than God to bring him to New York, but I don’t see them doing that.

Freeman is likely going to return to Atlanta or sign with the Dodgers. If the Yankees had their preference, it would be to trade for Matt Olson. However, the prospect haul is going to be a steep price for Brian Cashman to pay and we know that Cashman loves his prospects.

Rizzo won’t cost a lot of money and he won’t cost prospects. My gut says that they end up reuniting with Rizzo while trading Voit for some pitching. Whether it’s a package for a reliever or starter, I think Voit goes for pitching. Stay tuned because the Yankees seem very active right now.

New York Yankees: Will the Chicago Cubs’ interest in Anthony Rizzo benefit the Yankees?

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More than other teams, the New York Yankees have been highly affected by Rob Manfred’s baseball lockout, as they didn’t make any moves to improve the team before that lockout was imposed. The Yankees still have their major priorities unmet. They still need a quality shortstop to replace Gleyber Torres, they need to bolster the starting rotation and to make a decision on who will be the starting first baseman.

Opinions on social media have swung wildly during the lockout regarding the retention of Luke Voit at first base or to re-sign Anthony Rizzo, who was acquired last season at the trade deadline. There has been interest in Freddie Freeman, especially after his struggle getting a new contract with the World Series-winning Braves.

The Braves offered him $180 million over six years to stay with the team, an offer he rejected. At the same time, the Yankees may have been internally discussing a trade with the Athletics for first baseman Matt Olson. Those seemed unlikely, Freeman for the cost and Olson as the A’s would like to strip the Yankees of prime prospects.

Now things have taken another turn as the Cubs have apparently been discussing bringing Rizzo back for another year. Rizzo was a star for the Cubs for many years, actually all of his career, before being traded to the Yankees last season. This might be more competition for the Yankees, with no decision one way or the other, it might be a bidding war that the Yankees probably won’t be interested in, with their other needs.

Make no mistake about it, Rizzo, although approaching the later part of his career, is still a quality defensive first baseman and a pesky lefty at the plate. Any team would happy to have him in their starting lineup. But with interest increasing for Rizzo, it may leave the Yankees to reconsider Freeman or Olson.

Earlier in the month, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Freeman is on their radar:

“The Yankees are expected to take a run at Freddie Freeman, who they love. Though 1B isn’t their real need, they’d love to fit one of the game’s best lefty hitters into their lineup. With the Braves not quickly wrapping up their star, all are options are on the table for Freeman.”

With Rizzo’s likely salary being in the $14-18 million range for next season, Freeman does not seem out of the question. The decision regarding Matt Olson is far more complicated. The Yankees have made it clear that they will not be dealing Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza in any trade this season. That would mean the Yankees might have to nearly strip the farm system of prospects to reign in Olson from the A’s. 

However, all of this might be moot if the sides in the CBA negotiations can’t come to a compromise and new agreement. Presently, it looks as if the start of spring training will be delayed. One thing is for sure, and that is that the Yankees are going to have to pounce when the lockout is over, as half of the prospects they need to fill the teams’ holes have already gone to other teams. At the present, Voit, after the lockout, may be traded, taking him out of the equation and making the search for a new first baseman even more intriguing.

Considering all of this, there is at least one other option. General Manager Brian Cashman, who is always secretive in his workings, may surprise us all with a pick that no one has thought off, just like he did with DJ LeMahieu.