Sunday, December 5

Anthony Rizzo trade: Yankees get another Cubs slugger before MLB deadline

The Yankees needed to address their lack of powerful left-handed hitters.

They filled that need with two exchanges on Thursday. First, the Bronx Bombers added Joey Gallo from the Rangers. A few hours later, they picked up first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs.

By acquiring Rizzo, the Yankees are adding a base machine and another power bat. By sending him to New York, the Cubs are letting go of a franchise icon and one of the key players in the team’s first World Series championship since 1908, as they begin their next rebuild.

YES Network’s Jack Curry reported that the Cubs are acquiring minor league outfielder Kevin Alcantara (the Yankees’ No. 12 prospect, per MLB pipeline) and minor league right-hander Alexander Vizcaino (the team’s No. 9 prospect). They are also paying the remainder of Rizzo’s salary in 2021.

MORE: MLB Trade Deadline Tracker

Anthony Rizzo Business Details

  • The Yankees get: 1B Anthony Rizzo
  • Puppies get: RHP Alexander Vizcaino, OF Kevin Alcantara

This move gives the Yankees a lot of flexibility to take the next steps to turn around what has been a disappointing 2021 season.

Rizzo’s pickup especially helps with offense from the left side. According to Fangraphs, only infielder Rougned Odor has a wRC + above 100 (league average) among the Yankees’ qualified left-handed hitters prior to Thursday. Outfielder Brett Gardner is the only other left-handed hitter with more than 150 plate appearances, and his .311 on-base percentage is higher than his .306 slugging percentage.

Rizzo will also fill a great need at first base. Luke Voit has appeared in just 29 games there this season due to injuries after two straight seasons with more than 20 home runs. The Yankees have mostly used DJ LeMahieu early (32 starts) with Voit out, but the former batting champion is struggling at the plate (100 wRC +, .709 OPS). New York’s first basemen have combined to hit a .651 OPS this season.

Although retired from his peak years in Chicago, when he hit more than 30 home runs per season, Rizzo is enjoying a recovery season, with 115 wRC +, .792 OPS and 14 home runs. Although his ticket rate is below double digits for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2012, it is still a more than useful 9.6. Moving into a deeper lineup with Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton, Rizzo will take some of the pressure off him to perform. Not to mention, you can take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s small right-field porch, which Baseball Savant ranks fifth best stadium for left-handed hitters to hit home runs.

Lastly, adding Rizzo and making the Cubs pay his salary allows New York to keep his payroll below the tax threshold. The Yankees parted ways with relievers Justin Wilson and Luis Cessa on Tuesday to make room for other moves, and now they can move Voit to add another piece at the deadline. Rizzo’s contract expires at the end of this season.

There are two elements to this deal for the Cubs: the comeback and the impact on the team.

The return is good. Vizcaíno is a 24 year old high performance Single-A high player with a lot of advantages. Has positive notes on his fastball and change, according to MLB Pipeline; Those pitches have helped him rack up 9.1 strikeouts for every nine innings in his career. He has struggled with his control (3.6 BB / 9 in his career), which has helped raise his ERA to 4.95. Still, he has the potential to be a sweeping bullpen arm or, if he improves his control, a starter with a lot of strikeouts.

Alcantara is only 19 years old, but it has already generated a lot of excitement by having a high ceiling. MLB Pipeline gives you above-average power, arms, and fielding degrees and more speed, while rating your hitting tool average. In 49 career MiLB games, all at the rookie level, he has a .269 / .325 / .382 cutoff line with two home runs, six stolen bases, 43 strikeouts and 12 walks.

Of course, Cubs fans right now will feel the emotional cost of losing Rizzo more than the thrill of adding prospects. Acquired from the Padres prior to the 2012 season, Rizzo was a fixture in Chicago’s rebuilding, posting four consecutive seasons of 4.0 WAR or more from 2014-17. The Cubs won a World Series and became one of the best teams in the game during that time. Rizzo was reportedly offered a five-year, $ 70 million extension prior to the start of the 2021 season that would have kept him with the Cubs until age 37. Athletic reported. He had expressed interest in staying in Chicago, but recently noted that he had “said my article on how I feel and how I love the city.” according to NBC Chicago.

“We’ve come and gone, but I think focusing on today is the best thing for me, and I have no idea what will happen in 14 days,” Rizzo said in mid-July. “I have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow. Like (Joc Pederson) getting traded (on July 15). So during this period it’s definitely like, ‘Today, what do I have to do?’ Play baseball, just keep it simple and don’t worry about it. “

What made matters worse for fans was that Rizzo was out of the lineup Wednesday and didn’t even pinch-hit in the game, preventing them from seeing him hit in a Chicago uniform one last time.

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