It sounds like the Yankees’ relationship with Anthony Rizzo could extend beyond just a rental acquisition in 2021.
According to Bob Klapisch of NJ.com, Rizzo is “quite eager” to return to the Yankees this offseason, as he gets set to hit the free agent market for the first time in his career.
The Yankees acquired Rizzo at the trade deadline in July from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations and minor league prospects Alexander Vizcaíno and Kevin Alcántara.
In 49 games, Rizzo slashed .249/.340/.428 with a .768 OPS, eight home runs and 21 RBIs as a Yankee. Overall, Rizzo had a down year compared to his typical standards, producing an OPS below .800 for only the second time across a full season in his career.
His 22 homers were also his lowest total since 2012. But Rizzo is a power-hitting left-handed bat, which the Yankees are in desperate need of. The 32-year-old has a slick glove at first base as well.
Rizzo has a lot of family in New Jersey, so his desire to stick around in the Bronx should come as no surprise. His parents grew up in Lyndhurst, NJ and his wife’s family is from Connecticut. And Rizzo spent a lot of time in Rutherford and at the Jersey Shore growing up.
However, Rizzo’s age and a down season might make the Yankees hesitant to dish out an extensive long-term deal to him at this point. The Yankees’ interest in re-signing Rizzo is currently unknown, and chances are he would only be brought back for the right price.
Not to mention, the Yankees are already destined to shift DJ LeMahieu over to first on a full-time basis since Gleyber Torres is projected to move back to second. The Yankees also have a much bigger need at shortstop and are better off allocating the majority of their resources into signing one of the available superstars at this position on the free agent market this winter.
If Rizzo comes back, it will likely mean the Yankees splurged in free agency, retaining Rizzo and inking a top shortstop. This would also hypothetically put third baseman Gio Urshela on the trading block as it would force LeMahieu over to the hot corner.
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