All offseason long, even throughout the lockout, it felt like the Yankees and Anthony Rizzo were a likely match. The team clearly liked having the longtime Cub around and manning first base after acquiring him at the 2021 trade deadline, and he seemed to enjoy playing in the Bronx as well. He hit about the same in the Bronx as he did on the South Side of Chicago, ultimately batting .248/.344/.440 on the season with a 111 OPS+ and 1.7 rWAR.
That was apparently enough for the Yankees to decide to bring him back. ESPN’s Jesse Rogers was the first to report that Rizzo would return to the Yankees, breaking the news late on Tuesday night:
Breaking news: Anthony Rizzo in agreement on a contract with the Yankees, pending a physical.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) March 16, 2022
Ken Rosenthal confirmed the news and revealed the two-year contract:
Source confirms: Anthony Rizzo in agreement with Yankees on two-year, $32M contract. First with agreement: @JesseRogersESPN— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2022
Rosenthal also noted that there is an opt-out after his first year, so if Rizzo has a very strong year, then he could hit the free agent market again for 2023.
With Matt Olson off the board in Atlanta and Freddie Freeman seemingly out of the Yankees’ preferred price range (grumble about that as you will), Rizzo was the logical, boring option. The second half of 2021 proved that the injury-prone Luke Voit had fallen out of favor in New York, and, well, Rizzo was there to be had. It’s fine to be underwhelmed by settling on Rizzo and to also be concerned about Rizzo’s vaccination status given the many scheduled games in New York and Toronto. As for what this means for Voit’s future in New York? Probably nothing good for the 2020 home run leader.
But if Rizzo can play all the games, then he’s a fine option and probably more reliable than Voit (with a better glove, too). He’s the not former MVP candidate he once was with the Cubs when they won it all in 2016, but he’ll hold his own at bat.
We’ll have more to come on this deal soon.