Well, the hits just keep on coming for the Yankees — at least when we’re talking about the injured list. While having a small army of pitchers on the IL had been a fact of life for a while, the bats are now catching up.
The latest blow came this afternoon with the news that first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has sat out the last six games, is headed to the IL. The Yankees are able to backdate the placement, albeit only by three days. But three days is better than none, assuming that Rizzo is ready to return when the designation runs out next Tuesday.
Anthony Rizzo will be going on the IL, Aaron Boone says. Ronald Guzman will be added to the active roster tomorrow.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) September 6, 2022
The Yankees are now officially without their last legitimate left-handed bat, with Rizzo joining Matt Carpenter and Andrew Benintendi on the IL, and with switch-hitters Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks not producing much at the plate. With the former at least, there is perhaps hope for better things to come from the prospect. But New York’s beleaguered offense will be hard-pressed to replace Rizzo’s 30 home runs and 137 wRC+.
Physically replacing Rizzo on the Yankees roster? Ronald Guzmán, the 27-year-old left-handed hitting first baseman who has spent 2022 at Scranton Wilkes-Barre. For his career, Guzmán has hit 31 home runs in 737 at-bats with the Rangers, so there is some pop in the bat at the big league level. This season at Triple-A, he has put together an .823 OPS, with 33 extra-base hits, including 12 dingers.
Our own John Griffin, perhaps a prophet, took a deep dive on Guzmán this morning, identifying this exact eventuality. Take heart, Yankees fans. As John discussed, Guzmán has been swinging a big stick in the second half down on the farm:
Starting in July, he began to mash, posting a .367/.439/.612 triple slash with 2 homers and 6 doubles in just 15 games. In August and September, he has been even better: a .333/.413/.712 line with 6 home runs and 7 doubles in 20 games.
Moreover, John points out that Guzmán has been a solid glove man at first, so at the very least, the Yankees are not conducting any 2021 Jay Bruce experiments at the position while Rizzo recovers. His article is definitely worth reading for more context on Guzmán.
We’re officially in “next man up” territory with Yankees dropping like flies, and there will need to be a 40-man roster move made to bring Guzmán aboard as well. Here’s hoping the new blood can keep the club afloat while we all wait for players to return from the IL rather than going on it.