Yankees acquire Anthony Rizzo

Update, 8:46pm: It’s official!


Whoa! Didn’t see this one coming. Nothing official yet, but Jack Curry’s initial report has been confirmed by multiple reporters now: the Yankees are trading for Anthony Rizzo. In return, the Yankees are trading prospects Kevin Alcántara and Alexander VizcaĂ­no to the Cubs.

Rizzo, who turns 32 in a little over a week, is the second lefty power bat acquired over the last 24 hours, joining Joey Gallo. Rizzo is purely a rental, but the Cubs are covering the remainder of his salary this season. That leaves more room for the Yankees to navigate the trade market before tomorrow afternoon.

Quick reaction: this is a great trade for the Yankees. I could complain about the Cubs sending cash to obtain a better prospect package, and believe me, I hate it. The Yankees should be taking on money, not the other way around. And yet, this is a huge boost to the current roster without subtracting any of the organization’s top prospects.

Not only does Rizzo offer power, but he makes a ton of contact. This year, Rizzo’s 15.7 percent strikeout rate is in the 85th percentile of the majors. That’s right in line with his 15.8 percent career mark.

Prime Rizzo has come and gone — he hit .284/.388/.513 (141 wRC+) from 2014 through 2019 — but he’s still a damn good hitter. This year, he’s batting .248/.346/.446 (115 wRC+) and has 14 homers in 376 plate appearances. Yankees first basemen have been awful this year, though Luke Voit has been out much of the season (more on him in a second), so Rizzo is a huge boost at the position.

Additionally, Rizzo is an elite defender at first base. He’s in the 97th percentile in outs above average at the position this year, and is consistently one of the highest rated first basemen in the game. He and Gallo drastically improve the team’s defense immediately, which is much needed.

Rizzo will enjoy the short porch. (2020-2021 spray chart, LA>10)

Alcántara, 19, is a long way from the majors. The Yankees paid him a $1 million bonus as an IFA in 2018 and he’s currently in the GCL and hitting .360/.448/.520 in just 29 plate appearances. There’s a ton of upside here for the 6-foot-6 center fielder, who ranked 14th on the team’s midseason prospect list over at Baseball America. But given his age and distance to the majors, it’s difficult to project his future. He could make the Yankees look really bad a few years from now! He could also flame out.

VizcaĂ­no checked in at 12 on the updated Baseball America list. The right-handed pitcher had been hurt to start the season and was just getting back into games in recent weeks. He’s 24 years-old and looks like a future reliever, albeit a potentially dominant late inning type. Trading him opens up another 40-man roster spot, by the way.

Now, about Voit. He appears close to a return from the injured list after seeing him face Luis Severino in a simulated game today. His return just may not be with the Yankees, apparently. Curry mentioned on the YES postgame show, well before the Rizzo deal was reported, that Voit could be on the move. It would be a pretty unceremonious exit for Voit, who was the team’s MVP last year and an excellent hitter since his acquisition. Perhaps Voit goes in a deal for a pitcher.

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17 Comments

  1. Dani

    Great trade. I still hope they keep Voit and roll with an OF of Stanton, Gallo and Judge with Voit DHing. Will be an interesting final day till the deadline, there’s obviously still more work to be done for the Yankees.

  2. dasit

    predictions for sterling’s home run call?

  3. dasit

    looking forward to a lineup with fewer than 3 automatic outs

  4. Evan3457

    If that chart is this year’s batted ball spray chart for Rizzo, and only this year…
    And if I’m reading it right…that’s roughly TWENTY flyouts hit for the Cubs that would be home runs at the Stadium. Now, he only plays half his games at home, and opponents will pitch him differently at the Stadium, but if he merely replicates what he’s doing, he should have a much better last 60 or so games than the first 100.

    • Derek

      I should have clarified that chart is 2020-2021. Let me update the post to reflect that too.

  5. You have to give the Yankees credit for seeing what most of their fans saw all season-no left handed hitters, bad defense, etc, etc and solidifying two of these in real time while giving up reasonably good prospects who aren’t as good as others in the system plus still having flexibility to add a pitcher or two before the deadline.

    Both Rizzo and Gallo are going to make an impact both offensively and defensively and they could be a very dangerous team come playoff time if both Kluber and Severino are in the rotation and pitching well.

    1st base and left field are two positions where there has virtually been no contribution other than DJM when he’s playing there and now he will be back full time at 2nd base and they can use Odor (who has played pretty well) in situations favorable to him producing.

    This means no more fringe players in the lineup and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

  6. WaitingOnTheKids

    Any chance they keep Voit as DH and play Stanton in LF?

    • Wire Fan

      This would make way too much sense… So no, no chance.

      Stanton could get hurt playing the OF, and as we have seen since the Yankees made him a full time DH, he never get hurt. The Yankees master plan has been working perfectly for Stanton in pinstripes so far.

  7. Joey Galleddardo

    Scherzer and Turner to the Dodgers. They’ve won the arms race and the World Series again.

  8. Scout

    So glad Hal didn’t have to “consider” exceeding the luxury tax threshold. I’ll sleep better tonight.

    • Joey Galleddardo

      It’s amazing that these teams keep paying the remaining salaries, Scout. Hal has yet to spend a dime. Free labor!

  9. Love this move! Cash finally let go of his prospects and didn’t have to give up top five. Rizzo signs with Yanks if he does well. This balances the lineup and should have been done in the offseason. But so be it. Voit should go for a late inning reliever or two. Can trade another prospect for Gray and we’re on our way.

  10. HenryKrinkle

    Maybe they trade Voit and move Gallo or Andujar to first next season. More likely DJ becomes the 1b earlier in his contract than I thought, and Torres back to 2b, and they get a SS. Either way, it’s getting crowded, but not with pitching… yet

  11. Dan A.

    I love this. I want up for a rental before this. But I think Rizzo is an absolutely perfect fit. I’m very bummed that the division looks done—the wild card play in sucks.

  12. Joey Galleddardo

    Did George come back from the dead, Derek? What the hell is going on? For years we’ve begged this FO to make a big movie this to help much better clubs win a championship and now they’ve made two in two days to prop up a bad club into a 2nd wild card. It makes no sense but does make us better. They’ll now have a balanced major league lineup again so that’s nice. And at least it keeps Rizzo away from the Sox. No more Odor and no more Gardner! Voit should be dealt for an arm. He’s too injury prone anyway.

    • HenryKrinkle

      Can’t use the same name twice, Eddard. You should’ve adjusted it for Rizzo. You slipped up.

      • Joey Galleddardo

        Patience, Henry. There’s plenty of time for that tomorrow. Right now I’m enjoying a mimosa and blissfully listening to “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

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