Yankees trade for Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo
There will be cash coming with Rizzo to cover his salary. He will be a free agent at the end of the season after rejecting the Cubs’ five-year, $70 million extension this spring.
“Obviously very emotional, still,” Rizzo told reporters of being traded. “Some good memories here, my whole life I grew up here. It’s just, all good things come to an end.”
The Yankees are sending back prospects Alexander Vizcaino, a right-handed pitcher who is among the organization’s top 10 prospects and Kevin Alcantara, an outfielder considered to be among the top 15 prospects in the system.
Rizzo, who will turn 32 in August, has fallen a bit off the pace that made him a regular All-Star and MVP candidate earlier in his career, but he is still a really good first baseman.
This season, he’s slashing .248/.346/.446 with 14 home runs.
“Tremendous hands and ability to play (first base),” one scout said of Rizzo. “Will save a lot of runs and finish outs. Helps get pitchers through innings quickly.”
“He’s a left-hand that plays in that ballpark. Plus make up guy that has championship experience.”
The Yankees had been getting very little offensive production at first base this season with Luke Voit missing most of the year with injuries.
Voit was held out of the first 34 games of the season after knee surgery and then suffered a strained oblique and missed 23 more games. In the 29 games he has played, Voit has struggled to get going, hitting .241/.328/.370 with three homers and 11 RBI.
The Yankees’ .612 OPS was the second worst in the major leagues. That was also an issue in left field where they had a .657 OPS, third worst in the big leagues. That spurred the Yankees’ pursuit of Gallo, a lefty power hitter.
Gallo will fit in with the Yankees’ right-handed sluggers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. He comes to the Bronx with 25 home runs, automatically the leader in the Bombers’ clubhouse. He hits for power, and strikes out out a lot — 125 times in 310 at-bats this season. He does take walks, leading the majors with 74 on the season.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he was not worried about having another “all or nothing” hitter in his lineup.
“I’m not concerned that we’re adding a guy that gets on 38% of the time this year and hits the ball over the fence,” Boone said.”We’ve seen over the last month or two that he’s really starting to take off again.
“Sign me up for the guy that’s on base almost 40% of the time and has the kind of power and provides that kind of potential balance for our lineup,” Boone added. “And on top of it is a two-way player. This is a guy that really defends and can run and do all those things. So nobody’s perfect. No player is perfect, but it’s hard to argue that we’re not a lot better team by adding Joey Gallo.”
Gallo has primarily been a right fielder, but will primarily play left for the Yankees. He was also described as an excellent first baseman and has experience there as well. He is considered a very nimble and athletic outfielder with a plus arm, according to scouts.
“I think you can envision him, but he’s gonna make our outfield a lot better in every way,” Boone said.
“We’ll have those conversations over the next 24 or 48 hours. I knew his reputation as an athlete and defender but I think I really saw him in Texas when we went there for that four-game series. To see him run, to see him move in the outfield, to see him throw, I really took notice of it,” Boone said. “I mean, he really kind of jumps off the screen at you with how physically impressive he is with his athleticism.”
That deal brings the two-time All-Star outfielder to the Yankees with left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez plus cash from the Rangers to lower the impact of Gallo’s salary on the Yankees’ payroll and keep it under the luxury tax threshold. The Rangers get minor league right-handed pitcher Glenn Otto and infielders Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver and Josh Smith.