The Yankees are in agreement with free agent first baseman Anthony Rizzoas was first reported by Jordan Brown (Twitter link). It’s a two-year, $32MM guarantee with an opt-out clause after the first season, Brown adds. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter) it’ll pay flat $16MM salaries in each season, leaving Rizzo with a $16MM decision next offseason. The deal is pending a physical.
Rizzo will be returning to the Bronx, where he finished the 2021 campaign. New York acquired him from the Cubs in advance of the trade deadline, and he hit .249/.340/.428 in 200 plate appearances in pinstripes down the stretch. That was more or less in line with the .248/.346/.446 mark he’d put up in 376 trips to the plate with Chicago over the season’s first couple months.
It was the second straight season of reasonable but unexciting production for Rizzo. He’d posted a .222/.342/.414 line during the shortened 2020 campaign. Going back two seasons, he owns a .240/.343/.432 line over 819 plate appearances. By measure of wRC+, that production checks in nine percentage points above the league average hitter’s. It’s actually bit below the standard (.254/.335/.455, 113 wRC+) set by first basemen around the league.
It’s been a rather sharp downturn for Rizzo as he’s entered his 30s. The left-handed hitter broke out with the Cubs in 2014, his age-24 campaign. Over the next six seasons, he never posted a wRC+ below 126. Overall, Rizzo hit .284/.388/.513 between 2014-19, with his 141 wRC+ in that stretch tying for twelfth among 375 qualified hitters.
More to come.