Report: Yankees sign Anthony Rizzo to two year deal

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Anthony Rizzo will return to the Yankees for at least one more season according to multiple reports. It’s a two year deal worth $32 million, but Rizzo can opt out after the 2022 season (Jesse Rogers). This move officially takes the Yankees out of the running for Freddie Freeman. Apparently, the Yankees “grew weary” of waiting on Freeman’s decision (Brendan Kuty). And yet, they also fear he could go to Boston (Jon Heyman). Goodness gracious, the optics of this are awful.

All this isn’t meant to be a slight on Rizzo, who’s still a good player. PECOTA projects a .257/.364/.444 (119 DRC+) and slightly above average defense. I’ll take that right now. Plus, he fit in well with the team after the trade deadline last summer. It’s just that…there were better options out there in Freeman and Matt Olson.

Rizzo’s return will mean the end of Luke Voit’s career in the Bronx. Expect a trade soon. The Yankees need to clear a 40-man spot for Rizzo, not to mention how awkward it would be to have the two of them in camp at the same time.

This move also affects DJ LeMahieu, who’s effectively back in the infield rover role that the team had planned for him back in 2019. With an infield of Rizzo, Gleyber Torres at second, Isiah Kiner-Falefa at short, and Josh Donaldson at the hot corner, LeMahieu will have to spell his teammates throughout the season. If LeMahieu repeats his 2021 performance, that’s probably a better role for him anyway.

Last but certainly not least, Rizzo’s vaccination status is important to consider. He wasn’t vaccinated last season, and considering the reports about New York City’s employer private sector vaccine mandate indeed applying to the Yankees, he won’t be eligible to play home games as long as that rule is in place (unless he got vaccinated over the offseason, of course). Can’t forget about potentially being ineligible to play in Toronto, either.

Look, I wanted Freeman or Olson. Not getting either of those two, along with (barring some surprise) Carlos Correa or Trevor Story, has made for a disappointing offseason. Are the Yankees a better team than yesterday? Sure, and the offseason still isn’t over. It just feels like multiple significant upgrades have been left at the table.

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17 Comments

  1. I’d rather have DJLM at 2nd than Gleyber at 2nd. Trade Gleyber for one of Oakland’s pitchers. Throw in Voit if you have to.

  2. Missing out on Seiya Suzuki was another swing and a miss.
    Matt Chapman trade and Freeman signing would have been great

    • David Schreiber

      Regardless of what you think of vax mandates its pretty screwed up that the yankees gave players (judge) who currently cant play at home or in Toronto – against the favorite to win the division.

  3. mikenyc2007

    The team is far better – Rizzo was hitting great until Covid, and Gallo will likely revert to norm… and even at his worst he was an upgrqade over Frazier, Gardner etc. I cant imagine winning a WS with Gio as a 3B, while i can see Donaldson there. Having an air-tight IF defense is going to be a nice change and take alot of pressure off of the pitchers. Sanchez was a black, streaky hole on OF and was an automatic pathetic AB for most of the season, so anyone back there will likely be a push with ok defense. Locastro is an upgrade over Gardner, and not giving AB to Odor and Wade is a net plus out of the gate. contact bat, speed and great D at SS is all we have asked for at the bottom of the lineup, and now its there.
    Basically traded Sevy’s innings with Kluber, so thats a push…. only place i see a downgrade is potentially Nestor turning into a pumpkin.
    Still time for a deal to be made… and potentially the A’s liked the Yankee prospects and decided to do 2 deals (ex Olsen in the Yankee deal)) to wring the most out of the Yanks for a pitcher/murphy

  4. Jacob

    I would argue that the Yankees are roughly the same team going into this year with slightly better defense and potentially slightly better offense. If they’re better it’s marginally and that margin could easily swing the wrong way when one of judge/Stanton/Donaldson gets injured and/or Torres/Galo continue to underperform. This is the Yankees of the 2020’s though, bet on the myriad of question marks being exclamation marks and then pretending things will work out and making no real moves when they don’t.

    Obviously I want to be proven wrong but it’s just status quo at this point.

  5. Tim Loceddardstro

    How uninspiring, Derek. Freeman was the guy especially after the Braves passed on him and got Olson. Dodgers or Sox will get him now. Dodgers, Sox and Braves are all organizations committed to winning and this one isn’t. That’s why they get Freeman and Olson and we get washed up Donaldson and anti vax Rizzo. What a cheap horrible organization this has become since George’s death. And Judge won’t even be able to play home games or in Toronto and the best he can do is give a stupid grin and word salad answers. I don’t get why he and Aaron Rodgers think this is funny. Be honest and be a leader.

  6. sevrox

    It’s. All. Entertainment. I’ll be watching on Sunday regardless who’s on the field.

  7. dasit

    can’t imagine this deal was signed without some agreement regarding the vaccine. would be fun if the yankees had to use a home game/road game platoon at first base

    • John

      they’ll need a RF one as well – Judge is clearly unvaxxed as well

  8. Wire Fan

    Defense is declining (closer to average than above average). Bat has been in decline for two years. 1.6fWar last year. If the bat doesn’t rebound Voit may be the more valuable player next year (best guess… Brewers?). Not liking this move. Yet another half measure.

    Yankees are playing the LT game again… they’ll go over this year and probably next year. Then claim poverty and the need to go under in 2024.

    What is scary is the Olson extension was only 22mil per in his FA years… I wish Cashman would stop with these half measures and push his chips in…. instead we are playing the short term deal game with leser players (IFK) or older players (Donaldson, Rizzo). And kind of a dumpster fire at catcher right now

    What is the core of this team in two of three years? Cole and who? Hicks? DjL?

  9. Jim Dunn

    The A’s wanted Volpe which wasn’t happening and Freeman is playing coy. There was a chance that Rizzo could have signed elsewhere and we would have been left with even lesser choices. Rizzo plays good defense, is a lefty pull hitter and a great clubhouse guy.

  10. David Pieragostini

    Actually no need to open roster spot. Just put Britton on 60 day injured list.

  11. David Pieragostini

    Rizzo not worth 16/year. Come on, look at his stats last couple yesrs. Part of mediocre yankee offense that needed changes. Trade gleyber and Voit for Oakland pitcher.

  12. Eric S.

    Now go get a good center fielder – either Ketel Marte or Brian Reynolds

  13. The cost conscious New York Yankees are willing to spend a combined $82M on 36-year old Josh Donaldson and 32-year old Anthony Rizzo

    • John

      rather than $500m on a couple of Correa/Story and Olson/Freeman, don’t want to make the long term big money commitment

      it’s all about the years

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