BREAKING: Yankees re-sign 1B Anthony Rizzo to a 2-year, $32 million contract

 

After a week or so of speculation who the team would negotiate with for it’s first base opening for the 2022 season, the Yankees finally have their man.  Late Tuesday evening, the Yankees re-signed free agent Anthony Rizzo to a two-year contract.  Rizzo, who was acquired at last year’s trade deadline, was a fine first baseman for the ballclub in 2021, but with higher end options available this offseason – namely Matt Olson from Oakland via a trade, or Freddie Freeman in free agency – this feels like a disappointment.



The Yankees have been in a “championships not championship” window for the last 5-6 years, however, they haven’t even reached a World Series in that timeframe.  This was the offseason to GO FOR IT, and I feel very lukewarm about the additions of Rizzo, SS Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, 3B Josh Donaldson and C Ben Rortvedt.

 

The reported deal for Rizzo appears to be one that retains long-term financial flexibility, coming in at just two years with a total value of $32 million, and he can opt-out after just one season.  The Yankees already have a few massive contracts on their books (Cole, Stanton, Donaldson) and have their eye on a long-term extension with Aaron Judge, so it always seemed like a long-term pact with any of the top-tier SS free agents or Freddie Freeman was unlikely.

 

One thing to watch with Anthony Rizzo is that he is likely still unvaccinated for COVID-19 along with two or three other Yankees.  Rizzo missed time last season after testing positive for the virus, and with the new private-sector laws in NYC, it’s possible he won’t even be able to play in home games – and certainly not the 10 games the Yankees will play in Toronto against the Blue Jays.  Yankees and Mets leadership appear confident that the vaccine mandate laws in NYC will get resolved, but the issue with Canada remains.

 

As a fallout from this deal, the Yankees will, in all likelihood, need to move on from Luke Voit.  At this point, Voit is the sixth infielder on the depth chart, and can only play first base.  DJ LeMahieu is expected to play a utility infielder role this year, thus rendering Voit redundant.  There is still a lot of power in his bat, but injuries have snakebitten him the last few years, and he doesn’t provide a whole lot in the way of athleticism.

 

In 49 games with the Yankees in 2021, Anthony Rizzo hit .249/.340/.428 with eight home runs, 21 RBIs and a 110 OPS+.  He also added a home run in New York's Wild Card Game loss to Boston.  He’ll continue to provide stellar defense at first base which adds to the team’s already improved infield defense from Donaldson and Kiner-Falefa.

 

Article by: Andrew Natalizio

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