TAMPA, Fla. – Anthony Rizzo returns to the Bronx.
The left-handed first baseman and the New York Yankees have reached an agreement on a two-year, $32 million contract, as reported for the first time by ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Rizzo, 32, will earn $16 million this year and can retire after the 2022 season, allowing him to test free agency again.
Now the Yankees have an infield of Rizzo at first base, Gleyber Torres at second base, Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop and Josh Donaldson at third base, with DJ LeMahieu expected to start at first, second and third.
Torres could also be seen as a trade chip, with the Yankees exploring improvements in their rotation and center field options.
And the reunion with Rizzo likely means a new address for right-handed first baseman Luke Voit, who is stuck at first base and designated hitter.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tried to sell Voit at last year’s trade deadline after acquiring Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs.
“I mean, it’s twice now,” Voit said Wednesday morning in his locker, a few stalls from where Rizzo’s new No. 48 uniform was placed.
“I’m just going to stay positive. Obviously I have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Voit, who hopes to get some clarity on his status Wednesday from Yankees management.
“I know they wanted to be left-handed, I get it,” Voit said. “They were paying attention to it since last year (because) we were pretty right-handed dominant” in the line-up.
“It’s a business, I get it. (Cashman) brought me here for a reason and I guess that reason isn’t really what it used to be.”
After playing just 68 games last season due to inflammation in his left knee, which prompted the Rizzo trade, Voit said he felt the physical problem was behind him.
“That’s all I wanted to control this year…to be healthy and set up for a long season and not be on the (disabled list),” said Voit, who led MLB with 22 home runs in during the abridged 2020 season, finishing ninth in the AL MVP balloting.
A three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner at Wrigley Field, Rizzo reportedly turned down a five-year, $70 million extension from the Cubs last spring.
Although his contact rate, power, and positive defense improve the Yankees, Rizzo’s re-signing appears to be something of a consolation prize after the Yankees’ failed pursuit of first baseman Matt Olson.
Earlier this week, the Atlanta Braves traded four young players, including two of their top-rated prospects, to the Oakland Athletics for Olson, a gifted left-handed hitter and defenseman with two years of team control remaining.
Olson was quickly signed by the Braves to an eight-year, $168 million contract.
Rizzo’s move also ends the Yankees’ flirtation with free agent Freddie Freeman, the former Braves icon, who has a clearer runway to land with the Los Angeles Dodgers – although a number of clubs in the AL East would be in on it.
Rizzo, whose parents grew up in Lyndhurst, batted a combined .248 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs in 141 games last year.
In 200 plate appearances for the 2021 Yankees, Rizzo cut .249/.340/.428 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs.
Locked in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system, Voit became a powerful revelation after being traded to the Yanks in July 2018 for pitchers Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve.
“I’ve had fun since I’ve been here,” Voit said. “It’s the best place to play baseball. Who knows, maybe I’ll still be there.”