On Monday afternoon, manager Aaron Boone declared Luke Voit the Yankees starting first baseman. At the time, he was technically correct, as Voit was the only natural first baseman still on the roster. However, Boone had also literally declared Gio Urshela the starting shortstop right before the latter was traded to the Minnesota Twins, and on top of that, we knew that the Yankees were negotiating with the Oakland Athletics for Matt Olson and were pursuing free agents Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo.
Because of all this, nobody was surprised when the Yankees made their second late-night transaction of the week, as reports came out at 11:00pm EDT last night that the team had brought Rizzo back on a two-year, $32 million deal that included an opt-out after 2022. Olson, after all, had already been traded to the Braves, and reports all along have indicated that Freeman hadn’t seemed too keen on the Bronx.
Needless to say, the reactions were...well, let me just show you:
Other people were a little less, shall we say, pessimistic about the deal.
Like, I get wanting Freeman, but I'm not gonna be MAD about Rizzo.— JPB Gerald (@JPBGerald) March 16, 2022
For some, however, it was off-the-field concerns — or rather, the impact that those off-the-field concerns have on the field — that concerned others. I am, of course, referring to the news that the NYC private sector mandate does, in fact, apply to the New York Yankees. If you recall, as of last August Rizzo was unvaccinated; if nothing has changed in the meantime, that means he is currently ineligible for 92 games (81 at Yankee Stadium, 9 in Toronto, and 2 at Citi Field).
I'm underwhelmed. Also signing someone who may not be able to play home games and 9 games against Toronto isn't exactly wise imo.— Jeriel Aponte (@AponteJsmoove) March 16, 2022
I think I speak for everybody when I echo ALL CAPS’s statement and say that the Yankees better have ensured that Rizzo has received the vaccine, or else be extremely confident that mandates will change at City Hall by April 7th. Otherwise, it would be absolute negligence to sign a player unable to play more than half the team’s games. If it comes out that he is unvaccinated, well, that front office has some serious explaining to do.
Your thoughts on the Yankees bringing Rizzo back into the fold last night were very, very clear. Now that you’ve had a night to sleep on it, Pinstripe Alley readers, have you softened on the move a bit? Vote in our poll and let us know in the comment section below.
What do you think about the Yankees bringing back Anthony Rizzo?
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A 4x Gold Glover with pop from the left side? I don’t understand the hate!
Uh...sure, I guess? I mean, I’m not mad about the move, I’m not happy about the move, I just...am.
Not an upgrade over Luke Voit.
FREDDIE FREEMAN WAS RIGHT THERE!